By John Murray
Camile Atallah was honored on Januray 26th as the Lebanese Mayor For A Day during a ceremony inside Waterbury City Hall. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary is on the left. Atallah was born in Beruit in 1961 and at the age of 18 won a full schlarship to a university in Italy to study pre-medicine. He left the university after three months to return to his family in war-torn Lebanon. A devout Christian, Atallah was credited with saving a Muslim family during the Lebanese Civil War. In 1987 Atallah escaped Lebanon disguised as a Franciscan monk in a fishing boat bound for Israel. Six months later he got a visa to come to the United States and settled in Waterbury, where his two brothers were already established.
Veterans Hall was packed for the ceremony and attended a lucheon afterwards in honor of Mayor Camille Atallah at Our Lady of Lebanon Chuch.
State Representive Selim Noujaim was an enthusiastic master of ceremony. He is pictured here introducing his mother to the audience.
Nehme Atallah sang the Lebanese National Anthem.
Majdi Ramadan, the Counsul General of Lebanon, middle, traveled from NYC to congratulate Camille Atallah.
Former Waterbury mayor, Michael Jarjura, (of Lebanese descent), was mayor of the city from 2001 to 2011. He said he experienced political withdrawal pains for the first month out of office, but is now focused on his business holdings.
Reverend Dani Abi-Akar of Our Lady Of Lebanon Church gave the invocation and the benediction.
The hour-long ceremony was filled with laughter, and a deep love of Lebanon.
It was a great day for Camille Atallah. In addition to being Mayor for the Day, he received a citation from the General Assembly which was presented by State Rep. Larry Butler, State Rep. Victor Cuevas, State Rep. Selim Noujaim, and State Senator Joe Markley.