Soldier, earthquake survivor become U.S. citizens on Fourth of July

21 people from 14 countries take the Oath of Allegiance

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Some of the country's newest citizens were sworn on Thursday during a naturalization ceremony at the City of Winter Park's Fourth of July celebration.

The 21 citizenship candidates, who originated from 14 different countries, were given the Oath of Allegiance by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Hans Gaston celebrated his first day as a citizen with his family watching in the crowd of hundreds gathered at Central Park.

Originally from Haiti, Gaston fled the country after the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010.

"I always dreamed to come here and make something bigger for myself, and I always wanted to be part of this amazing country," Gaston said.

Each person who was sworn in followed their own unique journey that ended in a common goal of citizenship.

For Talal Rawashdeh, becoming a citizen came after his choice to join the U.S. Army in early 2019.

"To put my life on the line is just a small price to give back to the country," Rawashdeh said. "Just fighting for religion is the best thing and fighting for freedom everywhere around the world."

In all, nearly 7,500 citizens were sworn in across the country as part of Independence Day celebrations.
As part of the naturalization process, a person is required to be a green card holder for five years and must be over 18. Roughly 700,000 people become naturalized citizens each year.​

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