Independence Day will be especially meaningful this year to some of our country's newest naturalized citizens.
"You will soon become citizens of a nation that is grounded in the principal that all persons are created equal," said Judge C.Clifford Shirley, addressing the anxious crowd of 161 people from 60 different countries who were about to take the Oath of Allegiance.
"I couldn't sleep well last night because I was so excited. I had been thinking about my past, like childhood and my mother country, said Benjamin Nam.
Nam grew up in South Korea, but came to the United States eight years ago to study.
"I wanted to pursue my happiness with my own family in the United States of America. I have a lovely wife here, that's why I changed my nationality and citizenship," said Nam. "It is so cool and awesome. I can not describe. I am so happy right now."
Victoria Wing is from Canada. She has been working in the U.S. and Canada for the past 20 years.
In 2001, she decided she wanted to be an American.
"After 9-11, I really wanted to get my citizenship. It profoundly impacted me so I've been working toward that goal and today was absolutely one of the best and one of the most exciting days of my life," said Wing.
As a new citizen Wing expressed a feeling that most Americans share.
"Today all I could think of is the people who served this country and how they've given life and limb for me to have this freedom and it's those people I really salute today because what they've done for our country is so amazing," said Wing.
After the ceremony, which also included the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance, the new citizens were offered the chance to register to vote.
Oath of Allegiance
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; or that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
Naturalized citizens are required to take a test about U.S. History and Goverment. How would you do? Click here to take the practice test.