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20 American citizens naturalized atop Mt. Washington

The 20 new American citizens from 14 countries of origin who had just been sworn in on Thursday, Sept. 6, posed with the Hon. Joseph Laplante, center in robes, atop Mount Washington. Alain Beausejour, 4th from left, back row, of Gorham and Prof. Stacey G. H. Yap, 4th from left, front row, of Holderness were among those sworn in. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
September 12, 2012
SARGENT'S PURCHASE — A first-time-ever naturalization ceremony to swear in 20 new American citizens from 14 countries of origin was held on Thursday in the Mount Washington State Park atop the 6,288-foot summit.

The Hon. Chief Judge Joseph N. Laplante presided at a special session of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire — a first for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Northeast's highest point that is surrounded by nearly 800,000 acres of the White Mountain National Forest.

Fifty-year-old Canadian-born Alain Beausejour of Gorham was the only CoŲs County resident who took the oath of renunciation and allegiance that was administered on the roof-top observation deck of the Sherman Adams Building (SAB). Both his wife Patricia and his father, Roland, were on hand for the emotional and joyous occasion.

Prof. Stacey G. H. Yap of Holderness, originally from Singapore, was also sworn in after living in New Hampshire for 28 years. A professor of sociology at Plymouth State University (PSU), Yap is on the Advisory Committee for PSU's White Mountain Institute and an advocate for the new Museum of the White Mountains at PSU.

Ana Petersen of Woodsville, who will have been in this country for 10 years next February, was also sworn in. Her husband, Jim, was on hand for the moving moment.

Twenty-eight-year-old Staff Sgt. Moussa Mikolo of the U. S. Marine Corps, who was born in the Republic of Mali and moved to Manchester when he was eight years old, was called on by Judge Laplante to lead the assemblage in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Milolo has been in uniform for 10 years, including seven months' service in 2006 in Fallujah, Iraq, and he is now posted to Framingham, Mass.

Because of the threat of showers, much of the ceremony was held inside in the SAB's main concourse.

Judge Laplante congratulated the new citizens, pointing out that the nation is now stronger because of them.

Whenever some try to turn the country's "diversity into divisiveness, we must rebuke such efforts," the judge said, adding that all Americans should be accorded dignity, respect, and understanding. He urged those who had just become citizens to exercise all their rights and responsibilities, to participate in government, and to study both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the latter that they had just pledged "to support and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic."

Christa Rousseau of Randolph, a second-year student at White Mountains Community College in Berlin who works seasonally in the Park's gift shop, sang "The Star Spangled Banner." Her grandfather, Alan Lowe, and her aunt, Susie Lowe Santos, both of Randolph, were on hand to enjoy the moment.

All 20 of the new citizens plus many of their friends and family rode up the mountain in the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Others drove up the Mount Washington Auto Road. Officials thanked the state Division of Parks and Recreation as well as Cathy and Joel Bedor, who were on hand representing half the two-family Cog ownership, Auto Road general manager Howie Wemyss, the U.S. Marshal's Service that provided protection for the Judge Laplante, as well as other law enforcement, plus representatives of all four members of the Congressional delegation.

It was the suggestion of Luis Chaves of the U. S. Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services in Manchester that resulted in holding a ceremony on the peak, according to his supervisor, Boston District Director Denis Riordan.

Garnett Hill
Salmon Press
Northern Human Services
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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