Monday, January 16, 2017


By Matt Carden
with Eric Chamberlain

Yesterday, we wrote the story of Marine LCpl Jose F. Jimenez, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who will be laid to rest next to his mother, in Glendale, Arizona.  But, in that story, we did not discuss the issue of receiving citizenship in this country, after serving honorably in the armed forces.

Should non-citizens who serve Honorably in the US Military be granted United States Citizenship if they request it? Of course.  Really, this should be a non-partisan issue.

We have a LONG military tradition of NON- Citizens serving in our Military- dating back to the War of Independence.

Major General Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Inspector General of the Army and later Chief of Staff was not made a US Citizen until well after the end of the Revolution- by acts of Pennsylvania and New York. His development of the entire training program for the Continental Army changed the War, as the Battle of Monmouth showed.  It can also be argued, the Baron was also the first known "gay member of the military"- as he had been dismissed from other countries militaries, for having "taken 'liberties'" with young men. Gen. Washington must not have cared.

Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski  (born Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of Ślepowron (Poland)) was a nobleman who joined the Continental Army at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin.  Not only is he known for saving the life of George Washington, but also for reforming, reorganizing and being the 'father' of the American Cavalry.  He was killed in action during the Siege of Savannah, October 11, 1779.  Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski was granted Honorary Citizenship, in a resolution of Congress authorizing the President to make the honorary grant in 2009.

Major General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette did not fight under the French Army in the American Revolution- but under the Continental Army. At age 19 defied the orders of King Louis XVI and came to America to fight and was wounded in battle in the Revolution. He remained though a citizen of France.

The Marquis de Lafayette was finally granted Honorary Citizenship, by an Act of Congress in 2002.  Although his body lies in France, he is buried under both French and American soil.  His son, Georges Washington de La Fayette, covered his father's coffin with dirt gathered from Bunker Hill, honoring his father's wish, as a Hero of Two Nations.   He is buried in Picpus Cemetery in Paris.

On July 4, 1917, after the American Expeditionary Force arrived in France to fight WWI, General "Blackjack" Pershing, and his aides went to Picpus Cemetery in Paris.  The words, "Lafayette, We are here!" were uttered.

At the end of World War I, an American Flag was raised over Lafayette's grave.  Every year since, on at 11:00 a.m. July 4, there is a ceremony in Paris, by members of French and US Military and American & French dignitaries, for the Changing of the America Flag over the tomb of Lafayette.  Both La Marseillaise and the Star Spangled Banner are played as well as Taps and Aux Morts, and then representatives from the US Military lower the American Flag, and raise a new one.

LCpl Jose F. Jimenez was in the US legally.  He may not even technically been an immigrant, legal or not, since his mother worked for the Mexican Consulate-he would have been considered a member of a family under a diplomatic law. But really, who cares what his legal status was? He is an American Hero who wanted to be an American "payback" the Country he had grown to love. That, he definitely did, and more.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan wrote to Basillia Jimenez, the mother of LCpl Jimenez. “He gave his life for his buddies and for the United States. His was the Marine Corps creed, ‘Semper Fidelis’ (always faithful), and I know you have that spirit.”

There are eight people who have been named honorary citizens of the United States- only two while they were still alive- Mother Theresa and Winston Churchill.  In addition to the ones already named, Swedish diplomat Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg  - who saved tens of thousands of Jews in the Holocaust, Bernardo de Gálvez - for services in the Revolution while serving under the Army of Spain, and William and Hannah Penn - founders of Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, WE CALL ON the ENTIRE Arizona Congressional Delegation of the House, from BOTH sides of the aisle, to rise on the Floor of the House and ask Senator's McCain and Flake to stand in the Well of the Senate and propose that LCpl Jose Francisco Jimenez, USMC, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honour, who gave, as President Lincoln said, "the last full measure of devotion" for a country that was not even his; be granted honorary Citizenship in the United States of America, by an immediate Act of Congress.   

Every recipient of the Highest Honor the United States can bestow, the Congressional Medal of Honor, should be immediately be named a citizen of this country if he or she wants to be... and Congress should make any who are still not citizens, honorary citizens at least...

Really, it is the least we can do...




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