PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Today, our great nation celebrates the very start of becoming the land of the free and the home of the brave, but something also really special is happened to the people who make up this great nation.
Today, 555 individuals become new U.S. citizens right here in the Valley.
"I come from Mexico, you know, I don't have much family on this side and it's a start for not just me, but for everybody else," Kevin Hernandez said. "It's a start for everybody in my family."
As some celebrate the nation's 242nd birthday, others have held onto the want, the will, and the hopes of becoming an American... that is, until today.
"Very special, a moment that a lot of people wish for and dream of," Hernandez said.
Nineteen-year-old Kevin Hernandez says he's proud to be an American. Today, he's one of the new U.S. citizens welcomes to America at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Today's naturalization ceremony is one of 175 that will take place across the country between June 28 and July 10.
"Every person that walks into our USCIS office has a great story to tell in our view," Maria Elena said. "This is the best part of our job... seeing these people go through the journey and now become United States citizens."