A courthouse in Gulfport, Mississppi, recently welcomed 24 new American citizens as they participated in a naturalization ceremony, the Sun Herald reports.
Friends, family and loved ones packed the federal court to celebrate this landmark achievement, as the new citizens waved American flags and their certificates of citizenship.
Judge Louis Guirola Jr. presented each new American with their certification, and also left them with a few parting words of advice.
“Remember also when you leave here today and go forth to become productive and good citizens of the United States, that the rights we enjoy have been purchased by the blood of patriots for many years,” Guirola said, according to the news source. “I charge you all to do what it is that we require of all of our citizens – to serve your country to the best of your ability, to love her as much as she loves you.”
New citizens at the Mississippi ceremony hailed from countries including Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, individuals may qualify for naturalization if they have been a permanent resident for at least five years, had qualifying U.S. military service or can file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen after being a permanent resident for three years.