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Published: Wednesday, 2/12/2014

Sixteen new Americans take oath of citizenship in Waterville ceremony

BLADE STAFF
Valentina Vasenina, formerly of Russia, recites the Pledge of Allegiance after becoming an American citizen during a Naturalization Ceremony at the Browning Masonic Care Center in Waterville today. Valentina Vasenina, formerly of Russia, recites the Pledge of Allegiance after becoming an American citizen during a Naturalization Ceremony at the Browning Masonic Care Center in Waterville today.
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Basmeen Durrani of Pakistan wore a bittersweet expression on her face during today's hour-long naturalization ceremony held at the Browning Care Center in Waterville.

It had taken nearly nine years to become a United States citizen, Mrs. Durrani said. But she has a lifetime of memories back in Pakistan.

“My husband is already a citizen,” said Mrs. Durrani, 30, who has two children, ages 6 and 2. “My oldest son is so happy. We have a lot of family here.

“But I miss my parents,” she said. “Pakistan is my country.”

Mrs. Durrani was one of 16 new citizens who participated in today’s ceremony. The event was attended by more than 120 people.

U.S District Court Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick, who presided over the event, told the new citizens they are important to the country’s success because they bring new ideas, perspectives, skills, and culture to America.

“Citizenship is a defining moment,” Judge Helmick said. “The renewal of our country depends on you. You are our future.”



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