The country's newest citizens took the Oath of Allegiance in the capital city Thursday afternoon.
About 50 immigrants from at least 15 countries rose as a court official called their names one by one. They came from countries like Kenya, Jamaica, Pakistan, India, Poland, China and Ukraine. Then, as a group, they recited the Oath of Allegiance that all immigrants take at naturalization ceremonies.
Bangladesh native Maruf Hossain told KRCG 13 he was excited to finally put the naturalization process behind him. He said he could not wait to do things he could not do as a permanent resident, like vote.
"It's very, very exciting for me," he said, explaining he first came to the United States 15 years ago.
Italian emigre Favio Gallazi said he was grateful for all the personal and professional opportunities he has found in America. He said he felt becoming a naturalized citizen was the right thing to do.
Jefferson City High School provided a choir for the ceremony. Members sang renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and all four verses of "America the Beautiful" as dozens of their classmates watched from the balcony. Choir members Cole Lympus and Natalie Wittenberger said had never seen a naturalization ceremony before and enjoyed being part of it.
"Being part of it, standing there, watching people become American citizens, is, like, 'Oh, this is amazing, actually,'" Wittenberger said.