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New Citizens Look Forward to July 4th Celebration


Several thousand people who lived in the United States for five years or more, gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to become US citizens

Several thousand people who lived in the United States for five years or more, gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to become US citizens

The Fourth of July is America's birthday, celebrated with parades, fireworks and family get-togethers. It commemorates July 4, 1776, when the nation's founders cut their ties to Britain to become a separate nation. For new citizens, the day has a special meaning.

They gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 3,000 in the morning and 3,000 more in the afternoon.

They were young and old and came from Mexico, the Philippines, Iran – 110 countries in all. Some have lived in the United States for decades as permanent residents. Zhang Qian from China, has lived here for five years.

"It makes me feel I'm a part of the country and I'm really honored as well, and I'm so excited right now," he said.

New citizens pledge loyalty to the United States, its constitution and laws. For Zsigmond Balla and his family, from Romania, it is time to offer thanks.

"A big thank you for letting us be here in this country and we are proud to become American citizens," said Balla.
These new citizens look forward to voting, and the major political parties were outside to recruit them.

Kara Noble from Britain and many others also are looking forward to celebrating their first Fourth of July as American citizens.

"It will be a fabulous, extra special day, I think with double beers. May be a trip down to the beach. Definitely fireworks," says Noble.

Some who were sworn in as new citizens are already serving the country in the U.S. military. Other new citizens are married to service members.

Many say they are filled with pride, including Mexico-born Salvador Alcala.

"Because we are a free country," Alcala said.

Andrew Rizk and his family come from Egypt and have lived here for six years. He says every fourth of July, they celebrate at the beach, and this year will be no different.

"It's like a tradition now," said Rizk. "We always go to Huntington Beach and watch the fireworks."

After the ceremony, participants got certificates to verify their new status as American citizens. Others took family photographs to remember the occasion.

Many say they are looking forward America's birthday, the Fourth of July.

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