As the U.S. celebrates 237 years of independence thousands of people across the country are being sworn in as new U.S. citizens. One of those naturalization ceremonies occurred just steps from the White House.
Among them was Ashraf Mokhdar from Egypt.
“I’m so proud I’m a U.S. citizen. I wish to do my promise to be a good citizen," said Mokhdar.
And Jacqueline Frye from the United Kingdom.
“It’s been hard. It’s been a long, long road. But it’s good. I’m happy," said Frye.
The end of that long road was a ceremony presided over by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew who led the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.
A first-generation American whose father immigrated from Poland, Lew praised his new fellow Americans for overcoming challenges to become U.S. citizens.
“We are celebrating all of you, not only for what you have given, but for what you will continue to give to this country," said Lew.
What these new Americans have given is years of hard work mastering the English language, studying U-S history and government, and for many… waiting with uncertainty.
But Herbert Crooks from Panama says he knew this day would come.
“Deep down inside I always felt American. It’s a dream come true. Finally, I’ve done it," said Crooks.
As Americans celebrate another year of independence, these 30 new U.S. citizens are joining the celebration.