Twenty-six people received their United States citizenship today in a special place and on a special date — on the historic USS Constitution after a three-hour Fourth of July sail in Boston Harbor.
The citizens, from 18 different countries, were sworn in at 3 p.m., said Lieutenant Commander Paul Brawley, a Navy spokesman. A total of more than 500 people were aboard.
The ceremony, a formal court hearing before US District Judge William G. Young, included a performance of the national anthem, speeches, and an audio message from President Obama welcoming the new citizens, said US Citizenship and Immigration Service spokeswoman Paula Grenier.
Everyone on the ship was delighted to see the ceremony and welcome the 26 to official citizen status, said Grenier.
In a telephone interview from the ship, Brawley described the cool winds (which could be heard whooshing in the background) and the sunny skies above.
The ship fired a 21-gun salute at Castle Island in honor of the nation. “Old Ironsides” then headed towards the Boston Coast Guard station, where it fired a 17- gun salute in honor of the city of Boston, Brawley said.
“It’s a memorable experience,” said Brawley. People “are having a wonderful time.”
The ship returned to its dock at the Charlestown Navy Yard and will reopen to visitors at 6 p.m.