New citizens sworn-in during emotional ceremony in Salt Lake City

Posted at 7:55 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 21:55:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A massive ceremony held in Salt Lake City Thursday officially made more than 150 people U.S. Citizens.

The naturalization ceremony was held at This is the Place Heritage Park and was part of Citizenship Week, which is being observed nationwide.

The new citizens came from more than 150 nations around the globe, and, during the ceremony Thursday, tears were shed and a sincere amount of gratitude expressed for becoming the newest citizens of the United States of America.

From Albania to Azerbaijan, El Salvador to Ethiopia and Peru to the Philippines, the 152 new citizens expressed their  gratitude.

At times the English may not have been perfect, but the emotion was sincere.

One new citizen said: "God bless all of you, and god bless American!"

Another added:  "I am very proud of becoming a citizen of the United States of America, and also I Iove this country called the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Federal Judge Scott Matheson, himself a 6th generation American, greeted them.

“With rights come responsibilities, with liberty comes duty, and with opportunity comes service,” Matheson said from the podium. “It is a call to participate in the great, democratic enterprise that defines and sustains this great nation."

Many of those who attended, Like Christal Coronado, said they could hardly wait to take part.

“I’m so proud to be an American citizen today!” she said.

Coronado came here from Guatemala as a child with her parents, and, even though she's been in the U.S. for years, Christal was thrilled to receive this piece of paper and said she was inspired by the others taking part.

"People are so grateful, I think so many people have different backgrounds, different stories and coming here, it's truly an opportunity for us and everyone that comes,” she said.

Kate Burns, who was born in Cameroon and spoke no English when she arrived, expressed similar feelings about the melting pot that is her new country.

"And they were talking about, as you now become a U.S. citizen, you get to bring, you know, your culture and a part of you and weave it in with the U.S. culture and make one: That really was inspiring to me and made me feel really good,” Burns said.

During the next week, there will be more than 200 additional ceremonies, where 36,000 other folks will become U.S. citizens.