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72 new Americans receive citizenship at Independence Day ceremony in Portsmouth

photo of new Americans taking their oath
Todd Bookman
New naturalized American citizens take their oath during a ceremony in Portsmouth.

Small American flags and freshly signed paperwork in hand, 72 new American citizens participated in a naturalization ceremony Monday on the grounds of the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth.

“We are all Americans,” Chief Judge Landya McCafferty of the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire told the new citizens. “Together we stand as one people defined not by blood or race or tribe or wealth, but by the fact of citizenship.”

three new Americans in the crowd
Todd Bookman/NHPR
Newly naturalized American citizens during the July 4th ceremony.

The July 4 ceremony has been held regularly for two decades but was put on pause during the pandemic.

The new Americans represent 32 countries. Two people from Ukraine received loud, sustained applause during the event.

“I feel tremendous right now,” said Prince Nyemah, a Manchester resident born in Liberia. “Tremendous, it is a great feeling. Today is a blessing. My friends are here, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the future.”

New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice James Basset told the audience the country continues to have its challenges, but “over time, with the hard work of every American, now including all of you, we will become the more perfect union promised in the preamble of the United States Constitution.”

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congressman Chris Pappas also were on hand to welcome the new citizens.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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