103 Year Old Woman Finally Granted Citizenship

After six years as a resident, 103 year old Hong Inh has finally been granted American citizenship.

abc7 reports on her story. A former citizen of Cambodia, Hong Inh moved to America at the age of 97 to join three generations worth of family who was already in Los Angeles.

Hong Inh's life has been long and fraught with turmoil. A survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in her homeland during the 70's, she dreamed of nothing more than coming to America to "live in a peaceful country," as her grandson, Kim Ngoun Taing, put it.

It was only a few years ago that this dream became reality, her family members pulling together to help her move to California to live with them. Many of those same family members were present with her during the day of her naturalization, too. Overall, Inh has 30 relatives at present living in the United States and Cambodia.

Inh took the oath of citizenship on Tuesday surrounded by 10,000 supports inside the Los Angeles downtown Convention Center. A miniature American flag in hand, her grandson helped say the words for her and supported her while she stood without her wheelchair. Once finished, she joined with the crowd to cheer as she was presented with a naturalization certificate by Donna Campagnolo, director of the Los Angeles district office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Though Inh may not be the oldest person to become a naturalized citizen (that designation falling to 117 year old Manik Bokchalian from Turkey, who coincidentally also lived in Los Angeles), she is no less happy or proud of having finally achieved her dream. “She says she's so excited and happy,” her granddaughter, Siv Taing, told the press.

Later on, Inh stood once more to say the pledge of allegiance and sing the Star Spangled Banner. “Our family is so proud and amazed. It's so unbelievable that my great-grandma achieved one of her dreams,” great-granddaughter Melissa Tea said.