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On solemn 9/11, immigrants celebrate new lives as American citizens

Brimming with optimism and eager to vote, 26 immigrants became US citizens at a special naturalization ceremony in Alexandria, Va., close to the Pentagon and the memory of 9/11.

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In this file photo, Immigration Services Director (USCIS) Alejandro Mayorkas listens to a question on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mayorkas was one of those present for a special naturalization ceremony held in remembrance of 9/11.

AP Photo/Harry Hamburg

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What a difference 11 years makes.

Ibrahim Kamara came to the United States from Sierra Leone in August 2001, hoping to get an education and escape his nation’s decade-long civil war. 

Just two weeks later, he watched the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on television in Texas.
 
“It was scary,” says Mr. Kamara. “The fact that I just came from a war – I felt like I was going to come into another one.”

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