New citizens sworn in during Naturalization Ceremony in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A proud day for nearly one hundred people here in Memphis.

They started their lives all over the world but Friday they became Americans.

"Whose broad stripes and bright stars... "

A strong sense of pride and accomplishment filled the Benjamin Hooks Central Library.

Friday's naturalization ceremony comes two days before the birthday of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Today really reminds me of one of his very famous quotations. 'We may have all come on different ships, but we're all in the same boat now,'" said E. Keenon McCloy,  Director of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center.

The road to this special occasion unites nearly one hundred people from 40 countries with one basic desire -- to become U.S. citizens.

Charles Mullighan, from Australia, came to Memphis in 2004 and works in cancer research at St. Jude.

"And I think it's really my duty now to become a citizen and to enjoy the rights and responsibilities of that," he said.

"I would like to ask that all of our applicants stand. You will raise your right hand and repeat the oath of allegiance and renunciation after me," said Lynuel Dennis, USCIS Field Office Director.

It took only a few minutes for each to repeat the oath of allegiance, taking their first steps into a new life.

"So I welcome you as the newest citizens of the United States of America,"  said Dennis.

"When I was saying the oath I was a little emotional actually a tear came to my eye. I couldn't really believe that this day had come," said Mullighan.

"We represent this country and we will be there for this country. So we are a part of this country and will go with the President. And we will work for this country," said Suraj Mathew from Western India.