Thomas and Tina Sjogren were among 1,200 individuals from 96 countries who were recently sworn in as U.S. citizens in a naturalization ceremony in California. The couple was chosen by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to lead the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the Oakland Tribune reported.
The Sjogrens arrived in the United States thirteen years ago after marrying in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1983. Thomas is a native of Sweden and Tina of Czechoslovakia, and both say that taking the oath of U.S. citizenship has been a family dream for generations.
Thomas and Tina have lived in Manhattan, Colorado, San Francisco and in an airstream trailer in Half Moon Bay, California. Like many immigrants, they were drawn to the idea of the American dream and all that the United States stands for.
“Sweden still has a king,” Tom told the Half Moon Bay Review. “We come to America and we don’t swear allegiance to the president… we swear allegiance to the flag, to the idea.”
The couple shares a deep love of travel and has visited some of the world’s most famous sites. Perpetually in motion, Tom and Tina have climbed Mount Everest, sailed through the Caribbean, traveled along the Trans-Siberian Railway and visited both the North and South Poles. They are excited to finally have a permanent home base in the United States.
“Becoming a citizen is like marriage,” Tina told the Half Moon Bay Review. “America is the first country I’ve chosen by my own will. You can’t choose your relatives, but you can choose your partner. So that’s why I’m marrying America. I’m becoming an American citizen. Yesterday, we felt like guests. Today, we feel like family.”
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