21 residents become U.S. citizens during 4th of July ceremony in Winter Park

Photo by Joshua Hoehne via Unsplash

Twenty-one people officially became Americans at a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony at Winter Park’s annual 4th of July celebration.

They took the Oath of Allegiance before a representative of the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services.

Hans Gaston, 20, is originally from Haiti but moved to Florida after the 2009 earthquake in Haiti. He said it meant a lot to become a citizen on the day America won its independence.

“It’s amazing. It’s one of the biggest things because it’s actually the birth of this country. To even have the opportunity to be part of this day to take it, it’s amazing. It’s a lot.”

Gaston said he now plans on becoming a dentist.

“I always dreamed to come here to make something bigger for myself and I always want to be part of this country so I’m so proud for myself and my family.”

Talal Rawashdeh is originally from Jordan. He said his dad moved to the states several years ago and eventually brought his family over.

“[When] we came in here, funny, we only have $1,200 as a family of six.” Rawashdeh joined the U.S. Army in January and said he plans on making it a career.

“To put my life on the line is just a small price for giving back to the country... It’s just is an honor to the country who… gave me home and shelter.”

He said becoming an American is the greatest moment of his life next to joining the army.