NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Sometimes, we take for granted what it truly means to be an American. 22News was at a naturalization ceremony in Western Massachusetts to remind us what the Fourth of July really celebrates.
The United States of America was founded by immigrants with a dream for a better life. On our nation’s birthday, that dream came true for 48 people from 27 countries. 52 were registered but 4 didn’t attend the ceremony.
“It’s just everything. It’s just everything this country stands for. All the best things of this country are the hopes and dreams of these people today,” said Maureen McMahon of the Center for New Americans. Her organization helps people study to become U.S. citizens.
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on the lawn of Hampshire County Superior Courthouse in Northampton, the crowd of people who sat down as immigrants from Algeria, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam, stood up as Americans. For some, the American dream meant providing for, and helping see their families’ dreams come true as well.
“I am a nursing assistant. I’m happy. I’m happy coming here and I can take care of my family, especially my children,” said Linda Valle of Peru. Her two children were still living in her homeland.
“That’s my dream. Bring my mom here and my sisters. That way they can live with me here,” said Lenny Barreris from the Dominican Republic.
There were many reasons for these people to want to become U.S. citizens, but one of the main ones was the right to vote. They were able to register to vote right at the ceremony.
“I love America. I want to be. I like to vote. I like everything here. That’s why I want to be legal for everything in the U.S,” Estevao Moreira of Cape Verde told 22News.
This ceremony was only after a long process of studying U.S. civics, interviews, and background checks to ensure these people were worthy of receiving our nation’s highest honor: the title of U.S. citizens.