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Nine new U.S citizens naturalized at GTNP ceremony

MOOSE, Wyo. — A ceremony at Grand Teton National Park was held today, Aug. 6, naturalizing nine new U.S citizens.

The citizenship candidates originated from nine countries including Australia, Belarus, El Salvador, Mexico, Moldova, Philippines, Russia, Slovenia and South Africa. The candidates live in Casper, Gillette, Jackson, Teton Village and Wilson.

Chief Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin administered the Oath of Allegiance.

During the ceremony, Grand Teton National Park Deputy Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail spoke. He shared the story of his father’s immigration from Southern India to Chicago and the day his father was naturalized as a citizen of the U.S.

“We were waving flags just like this, flashes were going, and he became an American citizen. it was one of the most important days of our lives,” Noojibail said.

“The reason I can stand here before you today as the first and only Indian American superintended in 100 years of the national park service is because of him, because of the grit and resilience and sacrifice that both of my parents made to put us [my sisters and me] in this position,” Noojibail said. “This is my story, you have your own stories, already written and will write and it will be about your courage your sacrifice and your resilience and that’s what makes today so special and important.”

He concluded his speech saying, “If there is one thing that you take away, from everything I have said, it’s that all of these parks, the whole national park system now is yours. They are part of your inheritance and in your care to leave in perpetuity for future generations and don’t let anyone tell  you otherwise.”

“I know I speak for Wyoming and your Wyoming neighbors, welcome,” Judge Rankin said at the end of the ceremony.

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