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Crater Lake Hosts New Citizens

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CRATER LAKE, Ore. — As our country celebrates its 237th birthday Thursday, for some it will be there first as Americans.

Wednesday afternoon, there was a sparkle in the water at Crater Lake National Park, and in the eyes of 12 immigrants who raised their right hands and became United States citizens in a ceremony the first of its kind at Crater Lake.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Three things that describe the United States and 12 immigrants from around the world who became American citizens Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s a dream, I’m a traveling person and also the quality of life you can have in America is wonderful,” said one of the twelve, Georgina Carlo-Velasquez.

Five years and the determination to chase her dream. That’s what it took for Colombian-born Georgina to get to where she stood Wednesday. The single mother of two, along with 11 others, raised her right hand and was declared a United States citizen in the first ever naturalization ceremony at Crater Lake.

Gerogina says it’s a moment she will never forget.

“When you achieve a goal, it’s something coming from your heart,” Georgina explained. “It’s exciting for my family, it’s exciting for me and I made my kids proud so it’s a great day.”

Iconic American Landmarks are hosting the ceremonies, a fitting location officials say, for what the parks represent.

“Many of our sites commemorate or highlight the role immigrants have played in forming the nation,” Superintendent of Crater Lake, Craig Ackerman, said.

As Georgina prepares to celebrate her first Independence Day as an American, she says this 4th of July will have a deeper meaning.

“Celebrating a great day that you guys and the community celebrate, I will be doing the same, so I will be adding to that happiness tomorrow.”

Georgina says its days like this that make America beautiful.

The naturalization ceremonies have been taking place all week throughout the country from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to the Statue of Liberty in New York.