United States

New US Citizens Take the Oath in New York City

Immigrants from more 19 countries were officially welcomed to the United States in a special ceremony at the top of the World Trade Center Tuesday, the first time a naturalization ceremony was ever held there. 

The new citizens took their oath 102 stories high at the One World Observatory, overlooking the Statue of Liberty  -- a symbol of freedom and dreams. 

Venci Petcova, a Bulgarian native who came to America as a student more than a decade ago, has dreamed of this day.

"I'm really emotional, proud, excited," she said. "I've lived here 16 years." 

And having the ceremony on top of the World Trade Center was especially poignant. 

"The towers are just a show of strength, resiliency, and that's how we feel about our new citizens," said Tracy Renaud of U.S. Customs and Immigration. 

Valentina Zelyaeva documented every minute of the ceremony for her family back home in Russia. She said she knew the importance of the venue, the sacrifice and countless acts of courage that took place there almost 16 years ago. 

Immigration officials hope the ceremony Tuesday sets the precedent for years to come. 

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