SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Dozens of Utahns and their families are starting a new chapter of their lives. Wednesday, 127 immigrants from 43 countries raised their right hands and became citizens of the United States of America.
In taking the Oath of Allegiance, the new citizens promised to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.
Many said the path to citizenship has not been easy and has taken a lot of time, ranging from one year to nearly 30.
Each person ABC 4 News talked with shared a different story and different reason they are proud to be an American.
“I grew up watching American movies. I always thought America was such an amazing place,” said New Zealand native, Joe Hood. “[My citizenship], comes down to one word, and that word is probably love… love of America and love of my wife,” he smiled.
“Patriotism of America is not [matched] anywhere in the world,” said Tommaso Curdullo, another new citizen who came to the U.S. from Italy. “Every day, I’m proud — proud to be part of this country,” he said.
“In Iran, we don’t have any freedom like going to universities,” said Iran native Neda Khademi, who came to America seeking religious freedom. “I’m so happy I made it here today!”
Utah Rep. Norm Thurston (R) served as Master of Ceremonies at the special event. Thurston encouraged the new citizens to take some important steps going forward, including registering to vote, applying for passports, and getting involved in their communities.
The group, like true Americans, topped it all off with a patriotic selfie.
Watch Ali Monsen’s full news report in the clip above for more on Tuesday’s naturalization ceremony.