soldier's legacy is u.s. citizenship for his parents

This is a powerful, bittersweet Los Angeles Times article about Ryan Hizon, a young immigrant from the Philippines who enlisted as infantryman in the United States Army so that he and his family could be reunited and become U.S. citizens: A soldier's final gift: Parents' citizenship.

Sadly, Ryan was killed in action earlier this year in Afghanistan. But he was granted U.S. citizenship posthumously, and since he died at war, his parents could move to the top of the waiting list and become citizens without more than a few months' time. They recently attended their naturalization ceremony as guests of honor:
With their other children, Rochelle, 21, and Russell, 19, they drove to Montebello, where immigration officials were holding a ceremony inside a high-walled banquet hall to induct 801 immigrants.

Ryan's parents were guests of honor, bathed in attention despite soft-spoken protests. "We don't want to stand out," Rodolfo said. "Nothing special for us, please."

But it was impossible not to notice them, fidgeting nervously in the front row, clutching miniature American flags: two parents, two kids, one empty seat — Ryan's.

A black-robed magistrate judge rose to a podium.

"Today the oath of citizenship is given renewed meaning," she said. "Among our new citizens are two parents whose son, Ryan Hizon, was a decorated soldier in the United States Army.... Tragically, Ryan was killed in action this year...."

Rodolfo, his eyes glistening, brushed Rachel's trembling shoulder with his right hand.

"He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country...."
I'm not going to lie, I got a bit choked up while reading this story -- particularly the magistrate judge's address. My heart breaks for this family, and I pray they'll find peace in their new life as American citizens.

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