NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – July 4th is a day for all Americans, and on Monday a group of newly sworn-in citizens are joining the celebration.
On our countries 246th birthday, hundreds gathered to watch 54 immigrants get sworn in as U.S. citizens.
Boy Scout Troop 504 kicked off the event by bringing in the American and Massachusetts state flag. Some said that Monday was the most important day of their lives.
Maria Alicia Spinger Martinez was sworn in Monday and told 22News, “It’s the biggest step in my life, for my kids, my family, my husband, more opportunities, yeah.”
The group represented 27 countries, from Ethiopia, to Japan to Moldova. U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson oversaw the ceremony and swore in the new citizens.
“It’s a freedom day and it’s Independence day too for Americans, so it’s a new birthday for me again,” said new U.S. citizen Kwot Jay.
Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan told 22News, “It’s such a great renewal for everybody here, if you’re a citizen you see them take the oath and you hear the speeches and you say, isn’t it great to be an American?”
The process to become an American is extremely long and takes a lot of time and commitment, many new citizens telling 22News that it took several years. Applicants have to complete an application, go through a lengthy interview process and pass a test on U.S. history and civics.
The ceremony concluded Monday with applicants receiving their naturalization papers. The League of Women Voters were also in attendance to register the new citizens to vote.