BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Monday isn't a particularly historic day in United States history, but it's one that 23 new citizens will remember for the rest of their lives.
Friends and family gathered at the federal court in Bangor to celebrate the official citizenship of Maine residents from 15 different countries.
Some of the new citizens have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, while others have only been here for a few years. But for many, the road to citizenship was not easy.
"We left my country because of the war," Aliya Mohamed said. "Now, I'm living in this country, so I'm going to be giving my children the opportunity to live a better life."
But they could not be prouder of what they accomplished.
"It was hard work," Mohamud Khalid said. "I feel like I've achieved a lot. I've been through a lot, so I at least would like to be more free and be proud of myself.
It's been something these 23 new citizens have been waiting for, and their new lives are just beginning.
"You are now free to do what you want, to say what you want and to become the person you want to be," U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said.