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21 new U.S. Citizens naturalized at Monticello on July Fourth

Monticello hosted a naturalization ceremony for 21 new American Citizens
Monticello hosted a naturalization ceremony for 21 new American Citizens(WVIR)
Published: Jul. 4, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - On the day Americans celebrate the birth of the United States, 21 new American citizens celebrate the birth of their American journey by taking the oath of citizenship at Historic Monticello.

“Today, I was given a tool to participate in America in a very important way, and being able to vote in this country, it’s a way of making the world a little better,” new U.S. Citizen Elizabeth Pagola said.

For 59 years, the Monticello West Lawn has converted to a federal courthouse on July 4th. It’s seen many people from all backgrounds raise their right hand and begin their journey as an American.

“Right now it’s like being born again,” Pagola said.

Elizabeth Pagola is one of the 21 newest U.S. citizens, who come from 14 different countries. They all took the oath at the home Thomas Jefferson.

“This day is about what America means,” President of the Monticello Foundation Leslie Greene Bowman said. “When you stand here and you listen to those citizens, you understand what this country is made out of.”

Many new citizens shared stories of triumph and a new beginning.

“What makes this country so beautiful is because we have so many people from different countries,” one new citizen shared with the crowd. “That’s what makes this country so strong.”

“I’m really grateful to be here this morning to be part of the Independence Day, to be part of the Monticello family and to be part of all of you here” another said. “I’m so excited and I’m so happy to be here today.”

Presiding judge over the outdoor courtroom, Michael Urbanski, gave the group a warm welcome to country’s newest members.

“Today you join a new family, our American family,” he said. “A family built on principles of hard work, individual freedom, tolerance.”

While Pagola is thrilled to be a new citizen, and she’s in awe of where her “swearing in” took place.

“As a history nerd, I love it...and as a Hamilton fan, it’s the best thing that could have happened,” she said.

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