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9/11 ceremonies packed, immigrants naturalized

Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 14:24:01-04
Fifteen years after thousands lost their lives in the first attacks on American soil since Pearl Harbor, there was barely enough room to fit everyone to watch the military honor the victims of 9/11 at the SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion. 
Ceremonies focused on prayer and how the Sept. 11 attacks drew the best, not worst, out of the U.S.
 
In Bellevue, the VFW used Sunday’s ceremonies to leave an impression on immigrants who became U.S. citizens.
 
"I ask that you pray that America continues to be a light in the darkness,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. “That we continue to be that shining city on a hill." 
 
There was barely enough room to fit everyone at the ceremony in Papillion. 
 
"The terrorists thought they were going to break our spirit,” Ricketts said. “What they found is that while we did not ask for this fight, we do as Americans always do. We stand up and we fight back." 
 
Retired Army National Guard Sgt. Anne Marie Guy was part of the honor guard gun salute in Papillion.
 
She left the military in 1997 and re-enlisted after 9/11 because she felt the importance of helping her community during a vulnerable time.
 
"It's truly important that we still get together and remember because this will affect everyone for the rest of our lives and we need to remember the fallen,” Guy said.
 
Eight miles west in Bellevue, immigrants naturalized as U.S. citizens experience 9/11 ceremonies on one of their proudest days.
 
"I'll guarantee you that none of the citizens that have been sworn in one of our 9/11 ceremonies will ever lose memory of every bit of the ceremony," said Bill O’Donnell, VFW post commander and co-chair of the Bellevue 9/11 ceremony.  
 
Jesus Tapaia says becoming naturalized 15 years after the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history makes becoming a U.S. citizen more meaningful. 
 
“Remember all the people who fell,” Tapaia said. “We don't' forget about them and I feel like the date is so important putting it together with becoming a citizen is even more important.” 
 
More than 50 immigrants became U.S. citizens at the Bellevue ceremony.
 
At the amphitheater in Papillion, some officials say it was one of the biggest crowds ever.