New Citizens, Monticello, July 4, 1995 Photo: Larry Swank
Independence Day Celebration and
Naturalization Ceremony at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
To honor the legacy of the third President of the
United States, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, which has
owned and operated Monticello since 1923, celebrates the history of
American independence with a naturalization ceremony that dates to
1963. In that year, the Honorable Thomas J. Michie, Judge of the
U.S. District Court of Western Virginia and a member of the
Foundation Board of Trustees, originated the practice of
naturalizing citizens at Monticello during the Independence Day
holiday; the naturalization ceremony became an annual event.
President Gerald Ford visited the event in 1976, drawing more than
5,000 spectators, and marking the his last official observance of
The ceremony is opened with a concert of patriotic
American music; the petitioners for naturalization, their family,
friends and guests are welcomed; an invited guest reads the
preamble to the Declaration of Independence; and a guest speaker
delivers remarks before the new citizens take the oath of
citizenship. After the formal proceedings, the day ends with a true
Fourth of July picnic. The ceremony at Jefferson's beloved home
embraces one of our country's greatest assets: the dreams of its
immigrants. Project materials include a report, photos, videotapes
of the entire 1990 and 1997 ceremonies, as well as network news
coverage of ceremony highlights from several other years.
Originally submitted by: Virgil Goode, Jr., Representative (5th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.