“I do hereby declare” – Missoula welcomes new U.S. citizens in naturalization ceremony

Nearly 30 people from 20 countries raised their right hand on Thursday and swore allegiance to the United States before waving the Stars and Stripes to celebrate their achievement as the nation’s newest citizens.

In a ceremony that marked many firsts, and with a diverse crowd looking on, the 28 new Americans took their “obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” then smiled and wiped away tears of joy.

“I feel so excited and happy to be a new citizen in this lovely country,” said Anna Maria Pena, who joined her husband and two children after the ceremony. “I love this country. My husband is military and my kids were born here. Now it’s our country.”