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Immigrant-turned-citizen pays tribute to veterans

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Guy Ramos takes the oath of allegiance to the United States of America during his naturalization ceremony. He says veterans paved the way for his American journey.

Guy Ramos has called the United States of America home for nearly twenty years. He’s been a U.S. citizen for eight.

Ramos came to the U.S. by way of Brazil. That’s where he met his wife Tari in 1986 while she was serving as a missionary. The couple got engaged and two years later they were married in Tari’s home state of Minnesota.

“I was able to enter the U.S. in time for the wedding and began the process of applying for a green card,” recounts Ramos.

The couple began building their life together as Guy waited for his green card. It arrived several years later. In time, Guy says he started wanting something more. “My desire to be an American slowly grew as I lived here, first in Florida then Tennessee and finally in 1999, Habersham County.”

It wasn’t the landscape or abundance of America that enthralled him, it was the American spirit.

“One of the first things I noticed about Americans when I moved here was their amazing patriotism. Their love of God and country always moved me through the years,” explains Ramos. “Every time the national anthem was played, or the pledge of allegiance recited, I felt strongly that I wanted to be able to participate and say it from my heart.”

An American journey

In 2008, Guy Ramos made his move. He applied for U.S. citizenship and went through the interview process.

On July 6, 2009, he was sworn in as a naturalized citizen at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Atlanta. On that day, in that place, Ramos stood with his right hand raised alongside dozens of fellow immigrants. Together they spoke these words:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” ~ The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Those words, that ceremony, and the effort it took him to get there are all part of Guy Ramos’ American journey. It’s a journey he knows was made possible by the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans.

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Gratitude and service

Ramos says Veterans Day is a time for reflection and gratitude. “I think it is a time to think about what a privilege it is to live in this great country; to be grateful for the many men and women who fought so that I could be free to enjoy life working, playing, and raising a family.”

He drives home that point in a Veterans Day video tribute he recently posted online. In the video, the local realtor takes his social media followers on a virtual tour of several military sites in Habersham County. He visits the Veterans War Memorial on the square in downtown Clarkesville and the Veterans Wall of Honor in Cornelia.

It is heartfelt and inspiring.

“For me it is a solemn experience when I visit veterans memorials,” says Ramos. “I am in awe of these courageous men and women who are willing to die so that we can all enjoy our freedom.”

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