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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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New Citizens at Monticello, July 4, 1995
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 America's bicentennial.

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).

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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.

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