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Thirty-Two People Celebrated Flag Day at the Rock Hall By Becoming U.S. Citizens

photo of new citizens, Joint Veterans Commission of Cuyahoga County

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was the site for an induction of a different kind today as 32 people took the oath to become U.S. citizens.

About 200 spectators came to show support for the new citizens, who were gathered on the mall outside of the Rock Hall.

Maria Hsia came to the U.S. from the Philippines in 1996. Now, she lives in Twinsburg and is also one of the 32 new citizens.

“I missed the election last year and I’m like, ‘I may have been the one vote that could have changed everything.’ So that’s the one reason, really: I wanted to make a difference.”

About a third of the new citizens were from Bhutan, just like college student Manny Rieu.

“About 80,000 people from Bhutan have come to the United States. I’m proud to be in the United States citizenship. I’m really too happy.”

Federal Judge Dan Polster administered the oath of citizenship.  He says he likes holding naturalization ceremonies in public when possible.

“Too often, those of us who were born here take our citizenship for granted – and our freedoms – and we shouldn’t.”

Polster adds that holding the event at the Rock Hall was a nice way to tie-in with the international and welcoming flavor of rock and roll.

Global Cleveland helped organize the event as part of the #NaturalizeNow campaign, which aims to get one million people naturalized this year.

A video highlighting the ceremony is below.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.