New Citizens Take Oath at Naturalization Ceremony in Staunton
With hands and voices raised, people from all over the globe became the newest United States citizens. The naturalization ceremony took place in Staunton Tuesday.
More than 70 new citizens were sworn in Tuesday, but that ceremony comes only after paperwork and testing that sometimes takes years. One of the new Americans says he chose to take those difficult steps because the United States is still a place of dreams.
Andy Bindea strode forward as a new American citizen Tuesday, riding a wave of cheers from friends and co-workers at Sigora Solar. Bindea established the Waynesboro-based company not long after arriving from his native Romania.
"I came to this country with a backpack, six years ago, and with a dream... the dream to start my own company and succeed," he said. "I'm on that path. I'm an American now, I'm so psyched about it."
Bindea is not the only one. Seventy-two people took the oath, which comes only after an arduous process of becoming a United States citizen. Each one comes with a unique story, and desire to become an American.
Jyoti Vasishta of Warren County said, "I have been teaching now for about 13 years and absolutely love it. I thought that maybe if I had that citizenship with me, I should be able to reach more children."
Daniel Robayo was in the U.S. for 40 years before becoming a citizen because it's a choice he took so seriously.
"Doctor King's dream and the dream of all people being united, regardless of who they are, where they came from, what they're like... something that we're striving to make more real, all the time," he said.
Just steps away from the swearing-in, the new Americans could immediately register to vote, just in time for the presidential election.
"I know that we're going through some troublesome times, so we need the best representation," Vasishta said. "So definitely, I will love to vote this year - I'm waiting for this moment."
The naturalization ceremony took place at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. The museum is itself a celebration of immigrants, dating back to the 1600s.
New Citizens Take Oath at Naturalization Ceremony in StauntonMore>>