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Sauder Village hosts naturalization ceremony

Dozens of new American citizens were honored ahead of Independence Day over the weekend.

ARCHBOLD, Ohio — The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate the American identity. For many of us, we are born into it. For others, becoming an American is a emotional journey.

"I feel very happy about it, it was so emotional for me, I'm very happy about it," said Oju Harry, new American citizen from Nigeria.

Sauder Village in Archbold held a naturalization ceremony on Saturday, the last step in the process of becoming an American citizen. One participant says she didn't expect the pageantry, including the music and crowd, to be like this.

"I did not expect this to be such a big deal. I thought it was going to be more of, you get your certificate and you went, but they definitely make you feel special here," said Yana Vinogradskaya, from Kazakhstan.

Approximately 39 people took the oath in front of U.S. District Judge James R. Knepp, who says its become a tradition at Sauder Village as much as fireworks on the Fourth.

"I think it renews our patriotism and our love of our country to be there when new citizens are formed, and to see the culmination of sometimes a really long and hard journey that people have made from all over the world," said Knepp.

During a time when we reflect on what it means to be independent, some have a unique point of view.

"I think it gives me a sense of perspective about what a beautiful country this place is, and how much I love it, and how much the things that draw us together mean more than the things that would otherwise pulls us apart," said Knepp.

Perhaps independence could be the thing that brings us all together.

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