40 Men & Women Become American Citizens; "I will never forget th - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

40 Men & Women Become American Citizens; "I Will Never Forget This Day, Never."

Posted: Updated:

We sing the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of every baseball and football game. But Friday, the national anthem marked the beginning of a new chapter for dozens of men and women in downtown Panama City.

The last naturalization ceremony of 2012 granted 40 individuals citizenship.

Life begins today for 32 year old Nora Smith, on her first day as an American citizen. "It's just like I born today," says Smith.

Clutching her certificate of citizenship tightly, Smith is beyond excited. "I am American now," says Smith. "Which is a really really good feeling and I just, I am so lucky, iIam so lucky, to hold this."

She says she plans to put in a pretty frame and hang it on the wall, for everyone to see.

Originally from Baghdad, Iraq, Smith moved to Graceville four years ago searching for a better life for her and her future family.

"Today is like a dream," says Smith. "It is just a really wonderful experience."

Smith is just one of the 40 men and women from 23 different countries sworn in Friday. It's the last naturalization ceremony this year. U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak did the swearing in and left new citizens with this message. "I hope that you will share with your new country, the wonderful things from the country of your birth," says Smoak.

Smith tells me she looks forward to starting school in Dothan soon. She received a degree in Iraq but wishes to pursue an American degree in Information Technology.

"I will never never forget this day," says Smith. "Never."