As many Americans honored the lives lost during the events of 9/11, a group of immigrants showed their patriotism Tuesday by becoming some of the country’s newest citizens.
Dozens of citizenship candidates -- 105 from 32 different countries -- participated in the ceremony, which was held at Avondale City Hall.
“Seeing people from all different countries was pretty powerful,” said Avi Aouley, who immigrated here from Israel.
And while naturalization ceremonies are often emotional, the significance of the day, the one on which America’s ideals and values were attacked 17 years ago, made the event even more powerful.
“It brought us together as Americans like no other thing in 50 years had,” Avondale Mayor Kenneth Weise said.
One new citizen spoke of a striking connection to 9/11.
“I was on a plane out of New York that morning,” said Michael Wilmink, an immigrant from Canada. “Seven a.m., cross-country to Seattle.”
And while Wilmink was spared, others that he knew were not.
“On that day one of my classmates from UCLA, Andy O’Grady, was lost in the towers,” Wilmink said, adding he believes it was another stroke of fate that his naturalization ceremony fell on 9/11. “I’m going to dedicate my citizenship to Andy O’Grady and work to make America the best place it can be.”
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