In a beautiful example of what actually makes America great, a 103-year-old Cambodian woman just became a United States citizen after surviving years of war in her homeland. A beaming Hong Inh waved a tiny American flag after taking the oath of allegiance at the downtown Convention Center in Los Angeles, The Associated Press reports.
Inh was 97 when she joined her daughter and other relatives in America. Three generations of her family, including her 80-year-old daughter Hieng Meng and her 13-year-old great-granddaughter Melissa Tea, watched Inh take the oath.
Later in the ceremony, she stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and a live performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"She says she’s so excited and happy," said Inh's granddaughter, Siv Taing, 40.
Inh, who lived in Cambodia during the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s, endured years of violence and starvation. Her family says she always dreamed of coming to America because "she wished to live in a peaceful country."
A little over five years ago, her dream came true when relatives were able to bring Inh to the United States. After being a legal permanent resident for five years, she applied for citizenship.
"Our family is so proud and amazed. It’s so unbelievable that my great-grandma achieved one of her dreams," said Tea, adding that Inh loves "how she can do a lot of things freely. ... She can watch Chinese dramas by herself."
Donna Campagnolo, director of the Los Angeles district office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, presented Inh with her naturalization certificate.
"She’s just an absolute joy," Campagnolo said. "I think the glow and the smile on her face are just inspirational, really."
We couldn't agree more.
Read These Stories Next: