The first thing Susan L. Macario would do after being sworn in yesterday as a new U.S. citizen is go to the church and thank the Lord for a wonderful day.
Macario, 63, said that, just as what many people know, obtaining her U.S. citizenship is like traversing a long and winding road with so much obstacles.
“And right now, on this day, I would say I made it. It’s like I just want to sing ‘I made it through the rain,” said Macario, smiling.
Macario,was one of 20 new U.S. citizens who were sworn in in a naturalization ceremony in federal court yesterday. She was joined at the ceremony by 19 others who came from the Philippines, Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea, and China.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona administered their oath-taking .
Macario, who hails from Manila, first came to Saipan in November 1987 when she worked as an accountant for Modern Stationery. She then transferred to the Office of the Public Auditor. Now Macario is part-owner and president of Shirley’s Coffee Shop.
“Everything that we have achieved up to this day, I want to thank one specific person, Jerry Tan, who really helped us in our journey to obtain our citizenship,” she said.
Macario’s husband, Edgardo S. Macario, also obtained his U.S. citizenship at the same naturalization ceremony.
Edgardo Macario, who is from Makati, Philippines, followed his then-girlfriend, Susan Macario, to Saipan in April 1988. At that time, he was an accountant at JC Tenorio Enterprises. In 1991, the Macarios got married. They have three children.
At present, Edgardo Macario is the general manager of Shirley’s Coffee Shop.
For James Q. Calderwood, who is from the United Kingdom, he said it is important to be part of a country that is respected worldwide.
Calderwood, who is married to a U.S. citizen, first came to the island in 1986 to work as an IT&E manager for network services. The 65-year-old Calderwood still holds the same position. He and his wife have three children.
So Jun Song, formerly of South Korea, could not hold her tears of joy. Song followed her Korean parents to Saipan in 2001 when she was just 8 years old. Song studied at Saipan Community School and at Southern High School, then went to Hawaii under a student visa, and joined the U.S. Army. Song then went to work at the Commonwealth Health Center as a nurse under a CW-1 visa permit. Now 27, Song could not hold back her tears after being sworn in.
Song said she enlisted in the U.S. military in 2013 and is just waiting for the U.S. Army to give her a call.
Matthew Uhalde, one of two law clerks at the U.S. District Court for the NMI, served as the guest speaker at the naturalization ceremony.
Uhalde is a graduate of Cornell Law School of Cornell University in New York.
Uhalde said all four of his grandparents came to the U.S. from Europe.
He said his grandfather was grew up on a farm in southern France. When World War II broke out in 1939, his grandfather, like many young men, was conscripted into the French army.
“They placed him right on the eastern front to fight against Germany, and when France almost immediately fell in 1940, the Nazis took him as a war prisoner and deported him to a camp in Germany to be used as forced labor,” he said.
Uhalde said his grandfather managed to survive the rest of the war until the Soviets liberated him and he returned to France and got married.
Uhalde said that, as much as his grandparents loved their homeland in France, they ultimately decided to leave and went to the U.S.
“They had all heard, as have countless others throughout the world, that this was the land of opportunity,” Uhalde said.
All four of his grandparents settled in San Francisco.
“They had wonderful homes, raised happy families and, by all measure, lived the American dream,” he said.
The incredible thing about this country, Uhalde said, is that his family was not exceptional. Millions others have lived that experience and it doesn’t matter where they originally came from or what circumstances they once were.
“Here, everyone has the opportunity to work hard and live the American dream,” he said.
The other new citizens are Rezalina D. Barcinas, Roan F. Barcinas, Lingling Cheng, Jessie S. Dometita, Marlyn P. Dougherty, Mikaela Mari R. Hunter, Arcely F. Lacsina, Zenaida P. Laniyo, Xuankun Li, Min L. Macklin, Mark K. Moss, Teresita P. Pangelinan, Jacqueline C. Rosal, Lunisio M. Santiago, Eleazar Y. Sigua, and Lin Wang.