LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Nearly 200 people, including some who survived wars in their own countries, earned their U.S. citizenship Friday in downtown Louisville.
The ceremony was part of WorldFest, which started Friday morning and runs through Monday on the Belvedere.
The newest Americans at the event represented 55 nations, including Burundi, the home country of Louisville resident Jean Bigioimana.
"Freedom – that's the reason people come here to the United States," said Bigioimana, who said the most difficult part of his path to citizenship was living through a war in Burundi. "I'm very proud."
Hundreds attended the ceremony, and family members took photos as loved ones took their oath of citizenship.
Many clutched small U.S. flags and held their hands over their hearts during the Pledge of Allegiance.
"The road to citizenship for you has been long, difficult and, for some of you, dangerous," U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl told the crowd. "Your citizenship has been earned, and to that extent we are made greater by your effort."
Organizers set up a reception for the new citizens at WorldFest, outside the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.
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