MYSTIC -- A spring dousing of rain didn't dampen the patriotic spirit at the Mystic Seaport where for the third year, in honor of Flag Day, a special naturalization ceremony was held.
Seventy-seven new U.S. citizens were sworn in by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Merriam. Speakers included Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and Ethan Enzer, the section chief of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Courtney, who noted that he always enjoys such ceremonies "because it is a new infusion of people with talent, energy, and commitment."
The 77 new Americans hail from 38 different countries, from Albania to Yemen. Andrew Wright, who came to the U.S. from Jamaica 10 years ago and now lives in West Haven said, "You love your country, but you want to give back to this country for what it has given you."
Among the most compelling stories at Mystic Seaport included that of 23-year-old Yasser Faraj, who was sworn in with his younger brother and sister. They left Damascus, Syria eight years ago and now live in Mystic. "It makes me feel very special," Faraj said. "A lot of people wish to be in my position right now but unfortunately they can't."