New York – Scores of people waved tiny flags after taking the oath of U.S. citizenship at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on Friday, 125 years after the iconic American symbol welcoming visitors and immigrants was dedicated.
“We are a nation of diverse people,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said during the naturalization ceremony on Liberty Island. “And that diversity strengthens our nation.”
The new Americans, 125 immigrants from 46 countries, pledged to renounce foreign power, then posed for photos with their citizenship certificates.
The birthday party concluded Friday with a 12-minute fireworks display choreographed to patriotic music. Today, the statue’s interior will be closed for renovations for about a year, though Liberty Island will remain open.
High expectations for weather satellite
Los Angeles – Delayed five years because of cost overruns and development problems, a new high-powered weather satellite has been launched into orbit to provide information for military and civilian users.
In the predawn hours on Friday, NASA launched a 13-story rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base that lighted the night sky for miles around.
The Delta II rocket was carrying a $1.5 billion weather satellite that’s armed with new state-of-the-art sensors that will observe the ozone layer, atmospheric temperatures and snow and vegetation coverage.
According to NASA, the satellite, known as the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, is a crucial first step in building the next-generation weather system and understanding global change.