Thursday, July 01, 2010

Monticello's 4th of July naturalization ceremony

The Fourth of July is a memorable event atop Thomas Jefferson's mountain outside Charlottesville, Virginia. It somehow seems right to celebrate this historic holiday at Monticello, home to the 3rd President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence that declared "all men are created equal" with all having a right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

A star-spangled, patriotic day is planned to remember the independence of our country as well as the annual naturalization ceremony where the public is invited to watch the newest American citizens take their oath of citizenship.

As America celebrates the 235th anniversary of her independence, Monticello commemorates 47 years as the place where over 3,000 immigrants have become new American citizens on its scenic and historic West Lawn.

Since 1963, a long list of notable leaders have been guest speakers at the event including President George W. Bush in 2008, one of only two sitting U.S. Presidents to address the gathering. The other was Gerald Ford in 1976. Additional speakers throughout the years have included senators, U.S. Ambassadors, the Prime Minister of Australia, governors from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and many others who helped make it a day to remember. This year actress Tracey Ullman will do the honors.

Celebrating the Fourth of July in such a way would probably have met with Mr. Jefferson's approval because he considered remembering the birth of the Republic a way to "refresh our collections of [our] rights, and undiminished devotion to them." His hope was that Americans would not forget the importance of the day.

The festivities at Monticello will include performances by the Municipal Band of Charlottesville, the Old Guard Continental Color Guard, the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and the West Point Color Guard.

Thomas Jefferson died at his home on July 4, 1826, 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and is buried on the grounds in the family cemetery. The Fourth of July offers an opportunity to remember Mr. Jefferson along with the other Founding Fathers of this great country, and the sacrifices they made so that we could become a free nation.

The Fourth of July event at Monticello is free and the public is invited to attend. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. and the naturalization ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m.

Cross-posted at The Washington Examiner

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