Dozens of new Americans naturalized at Mount Vernon

Photo: Hatzel Vela/ABC7

Independence Day means newfound freedom for dozens of new Americans who were naturalized today in a ceremony at Mount Vernon.

It's been 15 years since Vladimir Rudenko arrived from Russia. Now he feels like an American and he can't wait to hit the ballot box.{ }

"It's one of the few places in the world where there is a genuine expression of democracy," Rudenko says.

On the front lawn at Mount Vernon, he and more than a hundred others pledged allegiance to America on an appropriate day in a very fitting place.

Sgt. Juan Cerdaguerra is Mexican born, but grew up in Minnesota. The 29 year old now serves this country, stationed in Quantico.

"It's a big opportunity. You get to do more, more for the country. That's part of the reason why I did it," Cerdaguerra:says.

For Iris Facinni of Centreville, it was a family affair. She and her husband both became citizens. The couple is from Venezuela.

"I have two kids. They were born here, so they're happy because they say 'oh, mom, finally you're a citizen,'" Facinni says.

"This is the moment that completes a chapter of a very long journey," Rodolfo Facinni says.

And since July 1, there's been more than a hundred naturalization ceremonies across the country and across the world - as far as South Korea.