SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – From Albania to West Africa to Mexico and all over the globe, 152 former immigrants and their families gathered at This Is The Place Heritage Park to take in this moment, the day they become American citizens, and emotions were running high.
With a hand on their heart and the stars and stripes in their sites, these men and women pledged allegiance for the first time to the flag as America’s newest citizens.
“It’s my dreams, I have maybe twenty years thinking of this day,” said Flora Doka from Albania.
As the National Anthem echoed through the room these new citizens had the opportunity to share their stories. Many like Camelia Mercader-Miller, were tearful in their gratitude. Coming to the states from Mexico, her family escaped a dangerous situation in her home country. As an immigrant she felt helpless – lost in the shadows, but beginning today she feels nothing but freedom.
“It’s something I have been praying about it. I felt hope, I felt like i can help my family now,” said Camelia.
As an active member in the LDS church, her first act as an American will be to pray at the church.
The certificates these people hold signal the start of a new future
and leaves behind the struggle many had to endure to realize the American Dream.
“Thank you, thank you! Right now I’m so excited because now I’m American, I say thank you to America, God bless America for everything they do,” said Bagare Sika Outarra who came to the United States from the Ivory Coast.