Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to attend a naturalization ceremony and see the emotions on peoples’ faces as they become U.S. citizens, knows how important this “American Dream” is to them.
Sujata Bhatia is part of a lucky group of just under 100 new U.S. citizens who took the oath of allegiance to America on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri on Tuesday.
It’s all part of a nationwide program where over the next few days, more than 18,000 people will attend naturalization ceremonies and become U.S. citizens.
“And then today to finally say thank you for the opportunities, and thank you for accepting me as part of this great nation, it’s very exciting,” Bhatia said.
Alvarez Mendoza was just 4 years old when he first came to America from Mexico and he has spent the same amount of time serving the U.S. as a Personnel Specialist Seaman.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s something I had to experience and now that I’m finally here, I’m so glad. I’m happy. I’m going to remember this day for the rest of my life,” Mendoza said.
Almost everyone KHON2 spoke to said the same thing when asked what is the first thing they would do as an American?
“I am going to walk off this boat and I’m going to kiss the soil of the United States and then yes, I will go by a flag. And I will take it home and fly it from my lanai,” Bhatia said.
“I’m gonna go fly an American flag in my house and let it be shown, be proud of it now that I am a United States citizen. I’m really happy,” Mendoza said.