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55 People Become U.S. Citizens During Naturalization Ceremony At Mount Rushmore


The granite heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln loomed above as 55 new Americans recited their oaths of allegiance during a Monday ceremony at Mount Rushmore.  


The group, representing 29 countries, then walked across the amphitheater stage to introduce themselves one by one.  


“Hello,” said a woman from Ukraine. “God bless America!”  


“Good morning America. I am so excited to be a U.S. citizen,” said Hazel from Zimbawbe. 

Karen Mortley and Cyline Harriott are from Jamaica and became friends once they began working as nurses at Monument Health in Rapid City.  


The new U.S. citizens said the ceremony showcased the diversity of the United States.  

“I just think it’s incredible,” said Mortley. It shows that we live in a global economy, that the world is opening up and we are all one. It was pretty good, pretty emotional and I think it will be good overall for society.” 


Other new citizens included a man from Afghanistan who served as an interpreter for the US. Military and a British woman who decided to become a citizen after living in Rapid City for decades. There also was a Filipina woman who is serving in the U.S. Army. Others hailed from Pakistan, Venezuela, Russia, Sudan and China.  


Monday’s event was the first naturalization ceremony at the monument since 2018. It included speeches from the park superintendent, a federal judge based in Rapid City, the president of the Mount Rushmore society and a federal immigration official. There was also music from the Dakota Choral Union, which sang patriotic songs.


The new citizens celebrated by taking photos in front of the monument and registering to vote.