NEW JERSEY (CBS) -- Memorial Day is often a time to relax, barbecue, or build sand castles down the shore, but for more than three dozen people, Monday was the start of a new life, as an American citizen.
Under a cloudy sky, aboard the Battleship New Jersey, dozens of families gathered to celebrate what it means to be free.
Sura Roy is a new U.S. citizen, from Iraq and said her desire was quite simple.
"I of course wanted to be here for a better life, a better future," Roy said. "Freedom, what most people are looking for."
The ceremony kicked off with a somber moment; tossing a wreath of red, white and blue flowers into the Delaware River. The wreath represented the men and women who lost their lives fighting for freedom.
John Thompson is the district Director for the USCIS in New Jersey and says today is about honoring the lives that are no longer with us.
"It's very important to remember all of the service of all of those who paid the ultimate price, to help protect our freedom and our liberty," Thompson said.
29 countries from across the world were represented. More than three dozen people took the oath to become United States citizens. Two servicemen, who fought to defend our freedom, can now call the United States home. One served in the United States Army in 1969. The second serviceman is currently a reserve from Belarus, who is stationed at McGuire Air Force base.
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