Fourth of July holds special significance for new U.S. citizens

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- This year's Fourth of July celebrations will have an extra special meaning for a group in Hammond, Indiana, who became U.S. citizens on Thursday.

This annual Fourth of July tradition in Hammond began more than 40 years ago and was one of more than 100 taking place across the country this week. The group of 50 people from 27 different countries took the oath of citizenship at a naturalization ceremony at Wolf Lake Park as friends, relatives and Hammond-area residents looked on.

The ceremony represented the end of a long journey to citizenship for those like the Radiceskas, a married couple originally from Macedonia who have lived in America since the late 1990s. The Crown Point couple began the process to become citizens 18 years ago.

"It's a special day, Fourth of July, special for all Americans. And we glad we're doing it today," said Ljupco Radiceska.

Wife Belinda said citizenship is definitely worth the wait.

"Oh yes, it is, it is. Who doesn't want to be an American, right?" she said. "It's good, it's good. It's worth it."

The Radiceskas join their two children, who are already U.S. citizens, as one big, happy American family.
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