Friday, January 9, 2004
NRI, Uday Singh,
21years old Army sergeant received his citizenship papers yesterday
at Arlington National Cemetery. The framed certificate was awarded
posthumously, presented to his father during graveside services
for the young soldier.
Preet Mahinder Singh, Uday's father said, "Uday had no
doubt in his mind he wanted to be a U.S. citizen. I lost a son.
My only son. But in that instant, Uday had been adopted by the
people of two nations, of which I and my family express our
Uday Singh, the
first Indian-born soldier to be killed during the war in Iraq,
was fatally wounded as he traveled in a convoy of vehicles that
came under fire, his father said. Shortly before the attack,
Singh had written a letter to his family saying he planned to
return to the United States in January to be sworn in as a citizen.
Yesterday, his family gathered at Arlington National Cemetery
in the biting cold for a ceremony punctuated with Sikh prayers
and a brief observance in which mourners laid flowers beside
the urn containing Singh's ashes. A 21-gun salute was held as
the ashes, brought in a wooden box draped in an American flag,
were buried amid chants of Sikh prayers. The flag was presented
to Uday's father, while his sister Bani placed flowers at the
Mark O'Neill, a Pentagon official, represented the US Army,
while Brigadier Shankar Ghosh and Air Commodore Sumit Mukherjee
from the Indian embassy were present on the occasion
On Sept. 15, just days before he was deployed to Iraq, Singh
told his family, "Have fun while I go save the world. P.S.
Pray for me," his father said yesterday.
Uday Singh was
focused on college and had recently spoken to a commander about
finishing course work in a program for enlisted people at the
Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and was considering attending
the University of Illinois.