NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP) - Fifty-two new Americans took an oath of citizenship at a ceremony in Northampton, some of them have been waiting for this moment for more than 20 years.
They stood tall to say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing the National Anthem, and repeated the Oath of Allegiance, this Independence Day at the Hampshire County Superior Courthouse.
Judge Michael Ponsor swore in people from 28 different countries on America's 237th Birthday. Many of the new citizens were guided through the process by the Center for New Americans.
52 people received certificates of U.S. citizenship in the ceremony. Some of them told 22News they are looking forward to all the freedoms that will be granted to them as Americans.
"I'm very proud, I mean I have free speech, you can practice your own religion. It's freedom," Danny Thomas, from Amherst, said after the ceremony.
Danny and his brother was naturalized this Independence Day along side both their parents.
They all came to the U.S. from Dominica 10 years ago today and for Wasim Thomas, Danny's younger brother, this day confirms he is what he said he has always felt he was, a U.S. citizen.
"It felt like I was part of something new…. it felt right," Wasim said about the naturalization ceremony.
For Samuel Black who was born in Belfast, Ireland, this decision took him 25 years to make, but he said it was important for him to join the rest of his U.S. born family.
"It's been a long time coming, my wife's an American. My kids are American, I teach American students, and I'm an American. Well now I'm an American officially," Black said.
The United States welcomed more than 500,000 new citizens during the last fiscal year.