Thousands sworn in as US citizens
(7/25/07 - KTRK/HOUSTON) (KTRK) -- The Houston region is richer today by 2,400 new American citizens. The naturalization ceremony was held in Cypress, and it's an emotional time for many. A time to in which people from all nationalities switch allegiance -- pledging to the flag of their legally adopted new homeland, the United States.
There were parents -- even the mother of lightweight champion boxer Juan Diaz -- and their children, all sworn in as new Americans today. And there was also a soldier -- already in the service of the US -- who now is a bona fide citizen.
If the United States is a tapestry of cultures, these new citizens are the stitches in the cloth. They bring with them their own heritage, from countries such as Nigeria.
"I'm so excited," said Lola Sowumni. "I'm so grateful to the United States of America. And I'm proud to be an American!"
Liezel Huber of South Africa is an international tennis star. She won the doubles trophy twice at Wimbledon, and now she's working to represent the US at the Olympics. With her citizenship, she can. That's only one door these pieces of paper can open.
"It's amazing," Huber said. "I'll be playing in the US Open as an American. So, that's a dream come true."
And yet citizenship isn't required to be in the service of the United States to defend it. An army specialist on active duty, who's already served in Iraq and Kuwait, is on leave to officially become a US citizen.
Spc. Roberto Grato explained, "I had a couple of goals in life, one of which was to join the military, which I've done. Another was to get my citizenship, which today I did. Now all I've got left is Paris!"
Three members of the military were included in the naturalization ceremony. In all, 121 countries were represented in the group sworn in today.
(Copyright © 2007, KTRK-TV)
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