Juan Garcia/Conexion San Angelo

SAN ANGELO–"We are a nation of communities. . . a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky,"-George H. W. Bush.

For 41 individuals, citizenship which seemed so far away and distant, on this historical day, September 7,the dream became a reality. 

Family and friends gathered this morning at 10:30 in the O.C. Fisher Federal Building, to celebrate the next step which was seeing their relatives become newly minted, U.S. Citizens.  

As U.S. Magistrate Judge, Honorable, Hal R. Ray, Jr., presiding over the ceremony, read the Oath of Allegiance, all 41 "points of light," applicants, raised their right hand in acknowledgment of acceptance. 

One by one each applicant recited the following: 

Oath of Allegiance 

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Those 41, now known as a citizens of a nation comprised of 50 states came from the following 9 countries: Czech Republic...Guatemala...India...Iraq...Kuwait...South Africa...Thailand...Vietnam. . . and Mexico.

After the ceremonial swearing-in, Judge Ray, Jr. said.  "Now, you are Citizens of the United States of America."

Amongst the group was Father Emilio Sosa, pastor at St. Joseph Parish in San Angelo, who became a citizen at the ceremony.  "It has been a long aspiration in my life to become a citizen of the United States, I am very blessed that today was my day," said, Father Sosa.  "I want to thank all those who are here to support me."

Pictured Left to Right are:  The Honorable Hal R. Ray, Jr., Sandie Zapata, Jose Zapata, and daughters: Melanie,Kiaranai and Mariana zapata