TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - There's a patriotic feeling in the air because of the Fourth of July tomorrow, but this Independence Day is extra special to 53 new Americans.
They were sworn in today at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building in Tampa.
It was the final step for a journey of long distance and big dreams for people like Suaol Thach of Clearwater, who was born in Cambodia.
"We fled from war to come here, so it gave us freedom, it gave us opportunities," she said. "Now it's our turn to do the best we can for this country."
They came from 34 nations and left as naturalized American citizens. One of them, Theofanis Katsiklis of Greece, was even born on July 4th.
"I was born to be an American citizen and I'm very happy and proud for this," he said. "It was my dream."
Many have worked for years to get here. They must pass a test on English and a test on civics.
LINK: Try the test yourself
Frank Cortes from Colombia studied with his American-born son Anthony.
"He said the questions were kind of difficult, but he still got them," Anthony said.
It's not an easy road to citizenship, but many take pride in how they did it.
"Anyone out there, do it this way," Thach said. "There's many wrong ways to do it, but this is the correct way."
The ceremony included the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S.A.
"America is a wonderful place. We have tons of freedoms here that other countries don't have," said Nadim Ishak, who lived in the United Kingdom.
Soon after taking the oath, Ishak walked to a table in the back and registered to vote, "for politicians to hear the citizens and make good choices that impact our lives," he said.
These 53 are now as much a part of this country as anyone. They're the new Americans just in time for the Fourth of July.