ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – Twenty-three citizenship candidates from 12 different countries made the United States of America their new home today.
“I waited for this moment for such a long time,” said Inez McFarlane Williams from Jamaica. “I’m feeling ecstatic.”
A naturalization ceremony was held on Wednesday morning at the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park.
“It’s a mix of emotions and great accomplishments, a sense of relief. It’s like I found home,” said Phani Kumar, from India.
Friends and family gathered to celebrate this milestone. Many of these new citizens have been waiting years, not knowing when this very day would arrive.
“Is it tough? Absolutely yes. There’s a lot of sacrifices, a lot of forgiveness in terms of what you did and also forgetting what you had and start something new,” Kumar said.
“It’s bittersweet but at the end of the day, the reward is fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.
The ceremony showcased the different countries the new citizens were from, they took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and their certificates were presented.
Many of the new citizens said this is just the beginning of a brand new journey.
Williams from Jamaica said she has fallen in love with Maine. She plans on staying here and hopes to get back in the nursing field.
“I came to Bar Harbor and once I came, I can’t leave. I love it here,” she said.
Arlyn Soper from the Philippines said she hasn’t seen her mother since 2012. Next March she plans to fly home to surprise her.
“It’s hard because you sacrifice for yourself, leaving all your friends and your family back,” said Soper.
“Next year I’m going to be able to fly back home and be able to see my mother. It’s been a while,” she said.
Many are grateful and believe the opportunities are now endless.
“I think this is a new beginning of what I can do and what I can accomplish so thank you again,” Kumar said.