The United States is welcoming about 7,000 new citizens this holiday weekend, including a number of St. Louis area residents.
Twenty-four St. Louisans took the oath of citizenship in the rotunda of the old courthouse in downtown St. Louis in a special Independence Day ceremony Friday afternoon.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay joined the new citizens' families and friends to celebrate the event.
Fatima Shahin Farhan from Iraq was joined by her children and cousins. Her cousin Media Saeed translated her feelings:
“She’s very happy today just because it’s just a different feeling to be a citizen. She feels more at home in America now that she is a citizen.”
The new citizens came from 16 countries. Sultan Ibrahim Khan arrived in St. Louis 15 years ago from Pakistan when he was a child.
He says citizenship has been a goal for many years.
“It feels good, because it is a long time waiting of course, so it was a lot of tension. It’s a big day. It’s a load off my shoulders, becoming a citizen finally,” Khan said.
Following the ceremony, Khan registered to vote with the help of League of Women Voters volunteer Catherine Stenger. The organization attends all the area naturalization ceremonies to register new citizens to vote.
The event was one of a hundred naturalization ceremonies held across the country this holiday weekend.