By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s Flag Day and in Baltimore, there’s an annual celebration held to salute the stars and the stripes.

The ceremony has special meaning, a naturalization ceremony welcomed some new United States citizens.

Brenda Marroquin came to the U.S. from Guatemala in 1995.

“It means a lot to mean because I love this country. I have been here 23 years,” Marroquin said. “I went to Morgan State University and moved to Baltimore City. I lived here for seven years and live in Hyattsville now.

Twenty-eight men and women from 18 different countries took the oath of citizenship.

“It’s a very important day. We’re excited to welcome new citizens to the Flag House,” said Amanda Davis, the executive director of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. “Some of them are military service members, so its an extra special day for those folks as we celebrate the flag.”

Thursday’s ceremony included the singing of the national anthem and the pledge to the flag.

The new citizens received certificates from Melissa Baker, a supervisory immigration services officer.

“It’s a fantastic day,” said Aranindu Lewwandoowa Liyanage from Sri Lanka. “It will help me broaden my horizons in terms of my education and help me apply for better jobs.”

It was on this day in 1777, the American flag was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

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