A ceremony filled with tears of pride and smiles of joy, the United States gained 39 new citizens on Friday at a naturalization ceremony in Peoria.
From 15 different countries, they sang American the Beautiful in unison for the first time as naturalized Americans. Some the last in their family to garner the certificate.
“There was definitely this feeling of just a lot of overwhelming emotions and then just the feeling of everything being resolved so all of the sudden this pressure and stress that i have been feeling just eliminated once he said that all of us were American citizens.” said Pierre Paul, a Brazilian native and newly naturalized citizen
Judge Joe Billy McDade said it had been four years since he led a naturalization and he’d missed the excitement.
“I think it’s something that all citizens particularly those who are born here should attend because here are people who have gone through great difficulties and impediments to because they want it.” said Judge McDade
The new citizens heard from others who have gone through their same journey, filled with pride as they said our Pledge of Allegiance.
Many have been fighting for citizenship for close to two decades.
“Even though we waited it was a good wait. Now I can say that I’m proud and happy.” said Hari Chennea an Indian native and Newly naturalized citizen
Ready to start a new chapter in the land of the red, white, and blue.
“Start with celebrating with the kids, they went to school so I’ll go home and show them the certificate and the flag, I’m terribly excited.” said Chennea
When the ceremony was complete, the new citizens were provided the opportunity so many of them had been waiting for, the change to register to vote.