A Day Of Citizenship Celebration - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/06/02

A Day Of Citizenship Celebration

Patriotic music set the mood for one of the most important days of 55 people's lives. U.S. Magistrate Lou Guirola told the people of different cultures they are being offered a freedom that not many other countries offer. Guirola challenged them to make him proud.

"Go forth and embrace the responsibilities of citizenship in the same way that your country's going to embrace

Each person listened for his or her name so they could receive the papers that make them official U.S. citizens. Many of them have been in this country for several years on temporary VISAs, waiting for the day they could finally stay here for good.

Maria Carolina Soriano, a Felipino, says, "At first I actually wanted to go home and serve and all, but I see that I should go along because you have better opportunities here in the United State

Iranian Ali Yazdanshenas says, "It's the best country. You have enough freedom to use your potential and become success

One man told us it was a question from his four year old daughter that influenced his decision to apply for citizenship.

"One day she asked me how come this isn't my flag, cause it's my wife flag and its my kids flag. So I said, 'One day it's gonna be my flag.' And so I went down and applied," said Mercedes

Even though the people were citizens of another country when America was attacked last year, they say they felt as heartbroken and shocked as everyone else.

"It really hurt me. You know I'm from Mexico but I live here. My kids are here and it really hurt me. I took it, I guess, just as you would have taken it," says C

Soriano says, "I used to live in New York for five years and it was like, 'Why did this have to happen?' Did we really deserve this to happen in the United States after all the opportunities that have been given to so many people he

Those are opportunities that the new citizens are now privileged to have as Americans citizens.

By: Marcia Hill

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