MOUNT VERNON, Va. (DC News Now) — The number of Americans living in the DMV increased by 50 on Monday — that’s how many people became U.S. citizens during the Independence Day ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home.
Murtaza Heidary left Afghanistan to become an American.
“I’m so appreciative of America, American people,” said Heidary, who came from Afghanistan. “They make this opportunity for my people, they can feel home here.”
Afghanistan is one of 42 countries represented in the ceremony. Eleven current members of the military are included in the ranks of those who took the oath of allegiance.
“Today is a very exciting moment in my life. I’m extremely happy as an American citizen — officially an American citizen,” said Army Private First Class Isaac Ofori, who came to America from Ghana in 2014. “I’ve been waiting for this the legal way.”
The program featured U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen as the guest speaker.
“The American story is the immigrant story. Immigration is not only consistent is with our values, in America, it is who we are,” Yellen told the crowd that gathered on the outside lawn for the ceremony
The ceremony is among the 140 held around the country on Independence Day. Each person arrived from a different country, but the 6,600 who took the oath left with something in common–they are among the nation’s newest citizens.