Fourth is an ideal day to celebrate citizenship
Rui Guilherme of Derry celebrates his naturalization as a United States citizen following a special ceremony at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth on Thursday. Guilherme is a native of Portugal but has lived in the United States for 43 years and has raised five sons here, who all joined him on Thursday. “It's a big, big day,” Guilherme said. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)
Under the tent, about 125 men and women representing 57 different countries become some of the nation's newest citizens.
The special naturalization ceremony has become an important part of "An American Celebration" at Strawbery Banke on Independence Day that many look forward to, including museum president Lawrence J. Yerdon who not only works on, but lives on the grounds. Yerdon told those gathered that the naturalization ceremony is his favorite of the many events held at the museum.
"It is a big, big day," he said with a big smile after receiving his certificate and a greeting from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and her husband, Bill.
"I've been waiting for this so I'm so excited," Guilherme said.
Mohamed Kamara of Concord came from Sierra Leone about five years ago. He said becoming a United States citizen for him, is like being a "newborn."
Each of the new citizens and their families were invited to join in the museum's Independence Day celebration without paying the day's admission fee.
Many others came from around the country to enjoy the museum's historic celebration, including three generations of the Mayerson family of California.
Mayerson said such Independence Day events are "inspiring," and the essence of it all was embodied in the naturalization ceremony."All I can say is, I hope these new citizens are as inspired as I was just listening to everything," Mayerson said."I thought it was remarkable when they started reading the list of countries, I thought they were just going through the list of the United Nations," Mayerson said.
"America's greatness always has come from being a nation of immigrants. This is as true today as it was at the founding of this nation 237 years ago," Shaheen said.
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