ABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) --In front of family and friends 45 men and women from around the world raised their right hands and swore allegiance to the United States of America.
Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum offered encouraging words to the new citizens. He reminded them while many Americans are citizens through birth, the new citizens chose America; a decision that took courage and sacrifice.
"This is great. To have a ceremony like this to recognize them and reward them with being a citizen with all the rights and privileges as any American," said Keenum. "They are just as American as any of us.
Some of the citizens hailed from countries such as China, Yemen, Chile, Haiti and Mexico. Twenty three countries were represented in all.
Chad Koonlada said he has dreamed of this moment for years.
"When I was in Tialand I use to work at the airport and saw this dark blue passport. You know people with that passport can go all over the world and I didn't have that privilege," said Koonlada.
For sisters Phung and Leane Lee they were excited about the the privilege to vote, especially with the November election right around the corner.
Finally after receiving gifts from the Daughters of the American Revolution, many of them fought back tears, took photos and waived the American flag; a flag that now symbolizes home.