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Veterans Become US Citizens, And Other Worthy Ways NC Honors Their Service

Flag of the United States of America, backlit, windy day.

Communities across North Carolina are hosting events in honor of Veterans Day today. 

Airman First Class Fabiola Tan of Durham becomes an American citizen today. She is one of six U.S. military veterans and service members who naturalized in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ceremony in Durham County this morning.

Tan came to the United States from the Dominican Republic before she turned four.

She says she joined the Air Force in 2009, in part, for the health and education benefits that came with it. But she says she learned valuable skills and made lasting friendships over those four years.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was an amazing time for me. I learned a lot,” Tan says. “And now, becoming a citizen, it makes me proud that I am able to go out and say I voted, I guess, to fulfill my civic duties, 'cause I, you know, I've been here a while.”

Legal permanent residents are allowed to enlist in the military, and can apply for expedited citizenship. The USCIS naturalized 5,600 people in North Carolina in the first half of this year, and 157 of them were members of the military.

Around the state

The V.A. Medical Center in Durham is inviting local vets, family members, community residents and staff to a wreath-laying ceremony at 1:00 this afternoon.  It will feature music from the U.S. Air Force Band Brass Quintet. 

A memorial on the N.C. State University campus earlier this morning paid tribute to all veterans.  Marjorie Salzman organized that event. She's the president of Raleigh Sister Cities

Salzman says the event marked the signing of the Armistice ending World War I.  She says the location on campus is a special place every day of the year.

“The Bell Tower was constructed after World War I by students and, I believe, University faculty and administrators as well as the community to memorialize those men who had lost their lives during World War I.”

In other events, Fayetteville Technical Community College is hosting a motorcycle Ride of Dignity.  A moment of silence will follow, before Army Colonel Alexander Conyers addresses the crowd.  Conyers is the Commander of the 16th Military Police Brigade and Director of Emergency Services at Fort Bragg.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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