OLD SALEM, N.C. - A piece of paper can mean so much.
"I'm just finally glad to be a full-fledged American citizen," says Frank Seator.
Seator, originally from Liberia, is one of 50 people becoming a U.S. citizen in Old Salem this Fourth of July. He's excited to be part of the Triad tradition.
"What it really means to be American is liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness," Seator explains. "I know that's cliche but that's really what it is and I'm glad to be a part of that."
That pride can carry on for years down the road. Just ask Beatrix and Chee-Sun Tan.
"It's a reminder of how honored and blessed we are to be in the U.S.A." Chee Sun says.
U.S. Naturalization Ceremony at Old Salem
WFMY News 2 first met the couple from Malaysia back in 2011, when they became American citizens in Old Salem. They've been to every naturalization ceremony in Old Salem since.
"It just brings back a lot of good memories."
They always wear their naturalization "uniforms."
"Red white and blue!" Beatrix exlaims.
"This is the only opportunity we have to dress like this," adds Chee-Sun.
When it's time to sing the national anthem, Beatrix and Chee-Sun sing loud and proud, for not only themselves, but for all who have been on the same journey.
"It's just so moving," Beatrix says.
"It's so nice to share what they've gone through and the excitement that's in their hearts right now," tells Chee-Sun.
The 50 new citizens in this year's Old Salem Naturalization ceremony come from 26 countries. Beatrix and Chee-Sun say they plan to keep coming back every year.