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New Citizens Take Oath at Naturalization Ceremony in Richmond, VA on July 4, 2023

July 07, 2023

After completing a rigorous process that can take several years, 75 immigrants from 36 countries officially became citizens of the United States of America during a naturalization ceremony held on July 4, 2023, in Richmond, Virginia. The ceremony was hosted by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, in coordination with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Honorable Roger L. Gregory, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, presided over the ceremony.

WATCH the ceremony (starts at min. 4:15): July 4 Naturalization Ceremony

Jamie O. Bosket, President & CEO of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, welcomed the candidates and announced the merger of the John Marshall Center for Constitutional History & Civics with the museum. “This is a rare merger of two beloved organizations to create an innovative new civics education center that will revolutionize the way we teach civics here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Bosket. 

Jon T. Lucier, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, read the list of 36 countries and presented the 75 candidates to the court.

Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory 2023Chief Judge Gregory then administered the Oath of Allegiance. “Let me be the first to congratulate you, my fellow Americans.”

“If we are to keep our democracy, we need your voices, we need your industry, your creativity. You inspire me…upstanding, law abiding, good moral character…good people like you want to be citizens of our country. And to me that says a lot about hope.”

He shared the example of a young man riding a train being asked for his ticket by the conductor. “The question is not where is my ticket, the question is where am I going.”  He encouraged the candidates to think of and include others in their dreams of where they are going “because that’s the only way you can get to your destiny.” 

He also quoted Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults,” and encouraged the candidates to carry the ideal of justice with them. Quoting Bryan Stevenson, he said,  “Justice is a constant struggle . . . the balance of this struggle turns not on the fear and skepticism of those who doubt the power of justice, but on the hope and spirit of those who believe. I want you to be a lifetime believer,” said Gregory.

A person standing at a podium Description automatically generated with medium confidenceNew citizen Fiona Weaser, from the United Kingdom and married to a United States Marine Corps officer, shared her personal journey during the ceremony. “It’s a long arduous process, but for me to stand up here today and be with my family on this very special occasion for both myself and our country, it’s very poignant, very emotional.”

“We can all say we will never forget this day.”

Links to local news: 

CBS 6 News Richmond