Friday, September 05, 2003


Would that all of us find our citizenship such a blessing.
A soldier wounded in Baghdad became an American citizen Sept. 2 during a ceremony in Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s healing garden...

A former Pakistani national, Kahn moved to the United States when he was 20 years old for “a better life.” He said becoming an American citizen is something he has wanted to do for some time.

“I’m so excited,” Kahn said. “I was waiting for this for five years, but I couldn’t do it because I was busy while I was doing my job in the Army.”

Kahn joined the Army as an artillery specialist because he “likes adventure.” On June 1, he was wounded in a sniper attack while providing security for a market in Baghdad.

“I volunteered for that shift,” he said. “I was guarding a check point, it was two soldiers and me. At 4:30 p.m. I went to check the radio and discovered we didn’t have communications with headquarters. I sat down inside the vehicle and picked up a bottle of water. It almost touched my lips. I don’t know what happened after that.”

A rocket-propelled grenade struck the vehicle he was in before he could get his drink...

“Normally, I tell new citizens they need to recognize their responsibilities to their nation,” Aquirre said. “In this case, that would be raining on wet ground. Sergeant Kahn obviously recognizes what America is all about and has already given more than most of us will have an opportunity to give.”

Since President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13269 in July 2002 — making legal, permanent residents actively serving in the United States military during times of hostilities immediately eligible to apply for naturalization — more than 7,500 individuals serving in the war on terrorism have requested expedited citizenship.

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