‘Freedom, freedom, freedom,’ Sarah Xaiyarath, 7, of Northwood, answered for her mother, Martha Vieng Xaiyarath, about why she became a U.S. citizen. Mrs. Xaiyarath was one of 46 people from 29 countries to take the oath at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio.
ARCHBOLD, Ohio — Among the happiest people celebrating Independence Day on Friday were 46 new citizens who took their oaths at Sauder Village in Archbold.
In all, the new citizens represent 29 countries from around the globe.
Martha Vieng Xaiyarath met her husband, Soulin, when he visited his home village of Sayabouly, Laos. Mr. Xaiyarath came to the United States in 1989 and was naturalized in 1995. They fell in love, and she joined him in the States in 1998. They married and have two children.
“I’m very happy,” Mrs. Xaiyarath said.
It took her four tries to pass the interview portion of the naturalization process. Finally completing her journey on a holiday that celebrates the freedom she now enjoys was the perfect ending. “This is amazing,” she said. “It’s so special.”
Ruth Lesley Laue from South Africa couldn’t keep a smile off her face during the ceremony, held in the shade on the village green.
She and her husband, Christopher, now live in Lima, Ohio.
“It’s so exciting,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Johnny Taylor, left, of the League of Women Voters, gives new citizen Yan Namsrai, formerly of Mongolia, information on voting. U.S. District Judge James R. Knepp II presided over the ceremony on Friday.
Mrs. Laue began the process of attaining citizenship four or five years ago. The Laues came to the United States in 1997 when Mr. Laue got a teaching job at a private school in Lima. He became a citizen in 2010.
“I love the freedom,” Mrs. Laue said. “I love the people. They’re very, very friendly and kind and polite. I also like how people interact here.”
She said she was surprised and thrilled to learn she would take her oath of citizenship on a thoroughly American holiday. “You can’t get any better than that,” she said.
The new citizens and their native countries are:
Australia: Craig Edward Hawkins.
Bolivia: Arely Lucinda Aranjo.
Canada: Amal Elhage, Gay Diane Goodwin, Cynthia Joanne Mudge.
China: Long Cheng, Awang Dhargye, Pengfu Hao, Yuxia Shi Valley.
Egypt: Hanaa Farid Haleem Girgis.
Guatemala: Gloria Karina Mendizabal.
India: Einstein Benjamin Francis, Nisha Einstein Francis, Mukesh B. Patel, Prabal Roy.
Indonesia: Lucy Thompson.
Jamaica: Shirley Mae Green.
Jordan: Ahmad Ibrahim Suleiman Al-Kouali, Nadia Khalil Mahmoud Awwad, Murad Abdelrazzaq Ali Hamedallah, Fayyad Hasan Suliman Jarrar.
Kenya: Jackline Kerubo Ayienda.
Latvia: Daina Logina Lewis.
Laos: Martha Vieng Xaiyarath.
Lebanon: Fatme Ibrahim Bittar.
Mexico: Bertha Contreras.
Mongolia: Yan Namsrai.
Nicaragua: Rene Xavier Diaz.
Pakistan: Muhammad Amir Qasmi.
Palestine: Bahaaeddin I.A. Srour.
Philippines: Kolet Katrina Cabreros Buenavides, Milmar Suga Joven, Retchie Suga Joven, Analyn Tumale Nofziger.
Poland: Anna Patrycja Kopchian.
Romania: Gina Irimia, Simona Maria Petrean.
Russia: Elena Danilovna Frie, Peter Charles Kharchenko.
Slovakia: Eva Leung.
Somalia: Asho Shoobow Helowle, Barka Ibrahim.
South Africa: Ruth Lesley Laue.
Sweden: Iman Ali Alali, Agneta Hjordis Marie Wiberg.
Tunisia: Hamed Ben Aloui.
United Kingdom: Nicola Jane Licata.