STILLWATER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This Independence Day has special meaning to some of the region’s newest citizens.
The immigrants were officially welcomed into the country on Tuesday during a naturalization ceremony at Saratoga National Historic Park. The park was the site of the turning point for the Revolutionary War and also for those becoming U.S. citizens.
They came from all over the world.
“Sudan,” Waill Auiop said.
“Canada, originally, is where I was born,” Vidhya Aroumougame said.
They are now proudly naturalized at Saratoga’s historic battlefield.
“To do it on Independence Day means it’s special,” Gabriel Opuana said.
Opuana coached the Nigerian Olympic Track Team in Rio, but now he has his sights set on helping American runners reach for the gold. He hopes to train athletes in Albany.
His naturalization was just one important step in that direction.
“Hopefully, I discover some new talent here and make them Olympians,” he said. “I feel great. I feel excited. I’m thankful to God. Now, you’re talking to an American.”
A big day packed with big dreams on a day and in a place so precious to our heritage.
“I think the biggest thing is the right to vote,” Aroumougame said.
“That’s always the goal is to get a better life, and there’s no better place to do it than here,” Auiop said.
In addition to the naturalization ceremonies, the battlefield hosts other activities, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence.