On the day he was buried, Pfc. Dawid Pietrek became an American.
Pietrek had come to west suburban of Chicago Il, from Poland, joined the Marine Corps and died June 14 2008 when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
In death, he became the 116th member of the armed forces to be posthumously named a U.S. citizen since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began in 2001.
Immigrant soldiers come from all different counties: Philippines, Mexico, El Salvador, India, Lithuania and Poland, representing a melting pot that is America.
One of the first casualties of the Iraq war was a Guatemalan orphan named Jose. Jose joined the Marine Corps when he turned 19. On the first day of battle in Iraq, Jose was killed in the line of duty only a few hours after his arrival. He died on March 21st, 2003, as one of the first casualties of the war. Jose was awarded United States citizenship posthumously.
About 35,033 non-citizens have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, composing 2 percent of the 1.7 million troops who have served in those countries, according to the Pentagon. Some join for the military's educational benefits, some for a fast track to citizenship, but most have reasons not easily categorized, simple service to a country that is not yet theirs.
“No death of any soldier goes un-mourned. But the death of a man who died for a country that was not his — proves especially poignant to many Americans," a statement by CBS news.
So this weekend, as we gather for picnics and ceremonies, please take a little time to remember those who gave their lives for this country, and also try to remember the more than 122 immigrants who were granted posthumous citizenship after dying in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
TO READ MORE ABOUT IMMIGRANT SOLDIERS: http://americasvoice.org/research/fact_sheet_immigrants_and_the_military/
TO HELP TELL THE STORY ABOUT IMMIGRANT SOLDIERS: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/american-girl-a-short-film/x/272608#/story