WILLIAMSBURG — Forty-one candidates from 30 countries gathered with family, friends, and fellow community members to participate in a naturalization ceremony on Friday, the day before Constitution Day.
Friday’s naturalization ceremony was the first time The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) has staged the annual event since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tradition of administering the oath of allegiance at CWF started in 1976.
“Did the people who lived the American Revolution, some of whom walked these very grounds, create a perfect republic? No, but they did give us a structure, a set of principles on which subsequent generations of Americans could build and improve,” said CWF’s Senior Vice President for Education and Historic Resources and Chief Curator Ronald L. Hurst in his welcoming remarks to the crowd. “That is their great legacy to us, and now it is your legacy to carry it forward. That’s what makes this moment so important. “
The ceremony was presented to the 41 candidates in partnership with the Williamsburg Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
CWF’s Actor-Interpreter Bryan Austin delivered a keynote address to the crowd of new American Citizens.
“My friends, you are the vision of our founders and the evidence of a promise well kept and well worth keeping,” said Austin. “Today, your first day as citizens. Your first moments, as citizens. Relish in the pride of a journey well taken, but in your celebrations, I charge you with something more. On this day and every day hereafter, think of the calling that comes with his new inheritance. You could stop here and still command the respect and admiration of the world, but should you find yourself wanting to do more, go a little further, you can and will astonish the world.”
Representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were there to administer the oath of allegiance at the site of the reconstructed Williamsburg Capitol Building. The now 41 new U.S. Citizens come from:
- Cote d’Ivoire
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
The Naturalization Ceremony officially kicked off CWF’s special Constitution Day celebrations of the 235th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Tomorrow, a free event on the lawn in front of the Art Museums will mark the anniversary from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
For more information and updates from Colonial Williamsburg, visit its official website.