Biscayne National Park hosted a new citizen naturalization ceremony on February 29th, the first time such a ceremony has been held in a South Florida national park.
The event was a result of the partnership established between US Citizenship and Immigration Services several years ago to welcome new citizens in a place that they now own. A total of 47 people from 18 nations became citizens at an event overlooking Biscayne Bay on a beautiful South Florida morning.
About 150 people were welcomed by a clearly-moved Superintendent Mark Lewis who drove home the message that this is literally now “your America.”
The keynote speaker was the “father of Biscayne National Park,” 91-year old Lloyd Miller, one of the leaders of the grassroots effort to protect the park from two imminent development threats in the 1960s.
“This place was created by a group that never numbered more than 10,” Miller told the new citizens. “All that beautiful, clear water behind me is there because people like you willed it to be there. Making a difference may not have been possible in the places from whence you came, but it IS possible here.”