More than twenty new U.S. citizens celebrated their naturalization ceremony Tuesday. Four of the new citizens already are serving in the armed forces.
Born in El Salvador, Army Sgt. Managa is an Iraq war veteran.
“I considered myself a citizen from the beginning, to be honest,” said Magana. “But I needed the legal paper to prove it. This is my home, this is where I live, this is where my family's at so I love it.”
“Now I'm able to treasure the freedom I have here because I went through some of that,” Managa said. Managa was one of 20 people from 12 different countries who took the oath of allegiance.
“It’s been a journey, a long journey to this day,” said Deborah Vives, standing just feet from the American flag. Vives was born in Mexico and is a senior airman in the Air Force.
“You cannot reenlist if you're not American so that's why I pursued my American citizenship so I could continue my Air Force career,” Vives said.
Vives said pledging allegiance to the flag as new American citizens has a special meaning.
“I did not know it was going to be this big so I'm very excited,” she said.
The ceremony concluded with holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein, who described her path to becoming an American. She encouraged her new fellow Americans to pursue their dreams and never forget the privilege that comes with citizenship.
“When I came here I knew no one except my husband. I couldn't speak English but what this country gave me I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams,” she said.