New U.S. citizen celebrates first 4th of July holiday

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GREENWOOD, Ind. — The Fourth of July holiday is a time to celebrate freedom and being a citizen of the United States. It’s a title some people fight their whole lives to earn.

Nathalia Wheeler waited nine years to become a U.S. citizen. She celebrated Thursday in Freedom Park. Wheeler wore a red, white, and blue flower crown to show her excitement for the day.

“My dad was like, isn’t that crown a little too much?" said Wheeler. "And I was like, no, it’s Fourth of July we’re celebrating America!"

She just became a citizen on Wednesday and said it was a very emotional experience.

“When I went up to the judge, my whole Costa Rican side came out because I just jumped on her and gave her a hug," said Wheeler. "And I was like, oh my God, thank you for giving me this opportunity, thank you for being so welcoming.”

The process was not easy.

“A lot of studying, a lot of figuring out what the constitution was and the holidays and the presidents,” said Wheeler.

She said it was so worth all of the hard work. As she continues to learn about U.S. culture, she hopes to inspire others to step out of their bubble.

“America is great but there’s also great things outside of America, so, just get to know what it out there,” said Wheeler.

She would be happy to show you a thing or two about Costa Rica.

Wheeler said she was going to spend her day at a Fourth of July pool party asking people citizenship questions. She said she would like to stump a few natural born citizens for fun.

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