July 4th holds a special meaning for immigrants who became U.S. citizens

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ARCHBOLD (13abc Action News) - July 4th is our nation's 241st birthday. It's the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

This day has even more meaning for 81 individuals in Archbold, OH.

Men and women of various ages and from 34 countries became U.S. citizens on Tuesday. Some waited just a few years while others waited decades for this day.

Christian Medel said, "It means a lot. It's very special."

Everyone who transitioned from being an immigrant to an American at the Sauder Village has stories of why it took them years to become a citizen.

For Marietta Medel, it took a push from the director of neurology at UTMC for her to become a proud American.

Marietta said, "she encouraged me to pursue my dreams here in the United States to become a neurology resident and eventually an attending neurologist."

The 81 individuals recited the Oath of Allegiance before they accepted their certificate.

"My husband came in the US in 1980," said Dora Kokolakis. "Every year was tomorrow and next year and next year."

It took 37 years for her husband to become a citizen. Regardless of how long it took, she said the moment was worth the wait.

Christian added, "to be here and especially to be a citizen it really does mean a lot as far as opportunity as well as achieving the American dream."

The Naturalization Ceremony in Archbold is an annual event.