Here, in America, ‘I have my life’

From across the globe,

they come seeking

freedom and opportunity

FALMOUTH — The last time Lisa Cooke of Falmouth watched the Olympics with her husband and children, she realized it was time to become an American citizen.

Cooke, a native Australian, rooted for Australia while her English husband, Paul, cheered on the United Kingdom’s athletes. That left their two children, Douglas, now 8, and Adelaide, now 11, to support the U.S. teams.

“They were not too pleased with us,” said Cooke.

That was part of the reason why Cooke swore the oath of U.S. citizenship Tuesday with 46 other people from 24 countries in a naturalization ceremony at Falmouth Middle School.

Every year, about 1,100 foreign residents in Maine become U.S. citizens. Most take the oath in administrative ceremonies held in courtrooms.

The ceremony at Falmouth Middle School, which has become an annual event, is a much more elaborate observance. This year, it featured performances by the school chorus and a speech by Reza Jalali, a writer and refugee activist who lives in Falmouth.

The group was surrounded by hundreds of camera-toting friends, family members and fifth graders, who acted as hosts after studying U.S. immigration.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Beth Quimby of the Portland Press Herald.

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