The federal government appears likely to default on its debt.
Next year’s presidential election is shaping up as a horror movie sequel.
And everywhere you look there’s a crisis: climate, COVID, opioids.
Despite the grim tidings, 26 people raised their right hands Thursday, renounced their countries of birth and became U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at an American Legion post in Manchester.
They were undeterred by the turmoil.
“As part of living here, part of our responsibility is to work through this. I would take on that responsibility,” said India-born Rishav Mukherji, who moved here to attend college, graduated from Harvard and works for the cryptocurrency company Coinbase.
Rajiv Pradhan, who sought asylum in the United States from Nepal, said other countries have violence and racism, too.
“I never thought about moving to another country, but once I came to America, I thought this is the safest country in the world,” said Pradhan, who lives in Manchester and is a home care provider for disabled people.
The 26 came from 22 different countries. Before the ceremony, they surrendered their green cards, which signify permanent residency status.
Certificates handed out after the brief ceremony attest to their citizenship. (Don’t laminate them, they were instructed, because it will damage authenticating electronics.)
They will have to apply and wait for the more commonly accepted marker of citizenship — a passport.
The brief ceremony included the national anthem, the oath of citizenship and the Pledge of Allegiance. It took place in a flag-studded hall at the American Legion Henry J. Sweeney Post. The post hosts naturalization ceremonies annually.
“You made a choice to be an American citizen. You weren’t born here, you earned it,” said Anthony Violanti, a veteran and the naturalization chairman for the post.
The new citizens had a mix of emotions.
Romanian native Cristina Grapa beamed. With mountains and a Black Sea coastline, her native country is beautiful, Grapa said, but she moved here 18 years ago for school and fell in love with America. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Grapa, a nurse who lives in Bedford.
Omar Alayyubi moved here from Saudi Arabia and attended Virginia Commonwealth and Kent State universities. He fell in love, too — but with an American woman. They got married and landed in New Hampshire when she got a job here.
“This was never the plan. It just happened,” said Alayyubi, who lives in Exeter and works in biotech.