More Than 100 New Americans Sworn In At Mount Vernon
MOUNT VERNON, Va. - Thousands of people are celebrating Independence Day as American citizens for the first time. Locally, more than 100 new citizens were sworn-in Saturday at Mount Vernon.
A very special ceremony took place at the home of America's first president this Fourth of July - 102 people became U.S. Citizens.
People like Khadija Rhelijari of Morocco, who has lived in the states for 20 years. "It's home. Morocco is home, but this is my home too," Rhelijari said
The group of new Americans comes from 43 different countries, but each recited the oath of allegiance to America before getting their certificate of citizenship.
"Lost for words. When they handed me that piece of paper...this is the main think that defines me right now," said Richard Javier, a new U.S. citizen.
The Mount Vernon ceremony is just one of 50 such ceremonies taking place across the country today. In total, some 6,000 people will become citizens today.
"You're living in America, you don't just want to be just a immigrant, you want to become an actual citizen and feel like an American," said Cleavon Shortt, a new citizen.
For so many of the new citizens - whether it's to live, work or serve - they still think of the United States as the place where their dreams can best be realized.
"In this country we have a lot of opportunity; you can reach success if you work everyday and it's a big difference," said Freddy Silba, a new citizen.
So why America celebrates her 233 birthday, one group is celebrating a first for them - an Independence Day on which they can truly call themselves proud Americans.
"Oh my God, yes! Fourth of July and -- just everything. It's overwhelming to me!" added Rheljari.