Twenty-five Fairfax County residents from 15 countries became some of the United States' newest naturalized citizens at a ceremony at the 13th annual Reston Multicultural Festival at Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday.
The naturalization ceremony became part of the festival two years ago, and organizers say it is a perfect place for it because Reston is home to people of so many different cultures.
"I take pride that we are able to serve our partners in 10 different languages," said Beverly Cosham, chair the Reston Community Center's Board of Governors. RCC and Reston Association, are the major sponsors of the festival.
Sharon Bulova, chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, says diversity is one of Fairfax County's greatest assets.
"I aways look forward to welcoming our newest citizens," she said before residents who hailed from Bolivia, Peru, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and Egypt, among others, took the oath of allegiance.
The ceremony's keynote speaker was Tina Tchen, chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. Tchen told the story of her parents, who emigrated from Shanghai just after their wedding 63 years ago.
"That is the incredible promise of our story," she said. "It is promise that is available to all of us as citizens."
New citizen Saadeddine Zaghbani of Burke said he is thrilled to be a US Citizen after 24 years here.
"It is a big honor," he said.
Husband and wife Shazia and Akram Waseem, who hail from Pakistan, said they were also honored to be Americans now. After collecting their certificates and good wishes from representatives from the USCIS Washington Field Office, they made another stop at Lake Anne Plaza.
It was at the League of Women Voters booth, where they registered to vote.