Winston-Salem Journal: New Americans: 33 become U.S. citizens in ceremony at Old Salem

July 4, 2015

The full promise of those words from the Pledge of Allegiance can now apply to 33 men and women from 21 countries who took part in a naturalization ceremony Saturday in Salem Square at Old Salem.

Agnes Beya, 27, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She came to the United States five years ago to go to school at UNC Greensboro. She and her mother became U.S. citizens at the ceremony Saturday, along with former citizens of Mexico, Vietnam, Bermuda and Niger, among other nations.

“It was important for me to become a citizen because of all of the freedoms and liberties and opportunities here compared to where I come from,” Beya said.

This location was fitting because it was where the first documented Fourth of July community celebration took place in 1783, said Old Salem acting CFO Anthony Slater.

Lorraine Sterritt, president of Salem Academy and College, gave the keynote address. Sterritt, a native of Ireland, went through a similar ceremony in 1990, she said.

“This is the culmination of so many years you have spent studying to become U.S. citizens,” she said. “Each of us is now a citizen in a land in which there are countless opportunities and we can contribute our talents and education.”

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