Near the front of the hall, Pfc. Mark Ayson, with a black brace on one wrist and an M-4 rifle slung across his back, had tears in his eyes.
Ayson, 26, of Pensacola, Fla., was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 8. Less than a week before the ceremony, he was riding in a Humvee that was hit by a copper-plated explosive in the north Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiya. A fellow soldier lost a his leg in the attack, but Ayson escaped with damaged eardrums, shrapnel in his right leg and a bruised left wrist. He was back to work within 72 hours.
Ayson said the experience underlines why he joined the Army, came to Iraq nearly a year ago and became a citizen on Wednesday.
"We're fighting for a cause," he said.
Jul 5, 2007
Hundreds of military personnel sworn in as citizens in Iraq on July 4th.