Photos: Faces of citizenship

On June 29 in Atlanta, people from 54 countries became naturalized U.S. citizens. Read on to learn about their stories and what they think makes America exceptional -- part of a series examining American exceptionalism's<a href='http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/30/despite-fights-about-its-merits-idea-of-american-exceptionalism-a-powerful-force-through-history/'> powerful effect on politics</a>, as well as <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/02/us/american-exceptionalism-other-countries-lessons/index.html'>areas in which other countries lead the way</a>. Among those naturalized were Denroy 'Peter' Willis of Jamaica, who came to America in 1992 and works at an auto dealership. "On the job, all the guys mess with me, joke with me about my speech and how I'm not American," he said. "When I go to work tomorrow, they can't say anything anymore. I'm an American."

On June 29 in Atlanta, people from 54 countries became naturalized U.S. citizens. Read on to learn about their stories and what they think makes America exceptional -- part of a series examining American exceptionalism's powerful effect on politics, as well as areas in which other countries lead the way. Among those naturalized were Denroy 'Peter' Willis of Jamaica, who came to America in 1992 and works at an auto dealership. "On the job, all the guys mess with me, joke with me about my speech and how I'm not American," he said. "When I go to work tomorrow, they can't say anything anymore. I'm an American."