New Hampshire has 103 new American citizens from 49 different countriesBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent July 04. 2018 8:38PM
PORTSMOUTH — A total of 103 people from 49 different countries became United States citizens Wednesday during the annual Independence Day naturalization ceremony at Strawbery Banke Museum.
New citizen Li Zhao Gaudet, of Bristol, moved to America in 2001. She was a medical doctor in China and now practices acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine at her practice, Yin-Yang Balance Wellness Center.
“I decided to become a citizen today because this is my home now. I’m so excited,” Gaudet said.
Duc Pham, of Merrimack, has also been calling America his home for a long time and decided to officially become a citizen before he turns 40.
“It’s wonderful. I feel like a new man. I’ve been trying to do this a long time. I made it my priority and I made it happen,” said Pham, who is originally from Vietnam.
Pham said the hardest part of earning citizenship was studying everything he needed to know to pass the civics test. The test covers America’s constitution, judicial system, historic leaders, major social movements and geography.
Judge Joseph Laplante officiated the ceremony and said no other nation enjoys the rights, liberties and privileges as America.
“Our freedom, however, has not come easy. Many men and women, particularly those who have served in our nation’s armed forces, have given much, including their lives, to protect and defend our freedom. Each of us must also do our part to protect our freedom,” Laplante said.
U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., told the crowd immigrants continue to make America stronger.
“We want you to share your ideas, your traditions and your talents because that is the story of America,” Shaheen said.
U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said every single person counts in America.
“The American vision has always been to move forward. To build a bright future by pulling from all of our people in society,” Hassan said. “Our founders believed in the principle that every single one of us counts. We know that they did not count everyone at first. But they had faith that we would continue to strive for a more perfect union.”
Gov. Chris Sununu talked about the similarities people share, including the fact that everyone except native peoples are from a family of immigrants.
“Today is what reminds us of what it means to be an American,” Sununu said. “People all across the world aspire to be where you are sitting today.”
Sununu urged the new citizens to become involved in local and state politics, nonprofits and to vote.
During the ceremony, new citizens took the Oath of Renunciation and Allegiance, promising to support and defend the law and bear arms on behalf of the United States when required.