WILLIAMSBURG, Va., March 28, 2016 – A Citizenship Ceremony for children of naturalized United States citizens and those adopted by American citizens will be held on Saturday, April 9, at Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. The event is hosted by the Williamsburg Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security.
Fifty people, the youngest age 14, from 26 countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma, Burundi, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Somalia, Thailand, Trinidad, Vietnam and Yemen – will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and receive formal acknowledgement of their citizenship. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. and is open to the public on a space-available basis.
“In 1607 immigrants established America’s first permanent English colony near here at Jamestown, and 409 years later 50 youth will receive their Certificates of Citizenship,” said Virginia Lee, regent for the Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR. “That in itself makes this ceremony especially meaningful and memorable for these young people as well as for those in attendance at the ceremony.”
Featured speaker for the event is John Hamant, a character interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg. A native of Baltimore, Md., Mr. Hamant is a writer, consultant and interpreter of persons of the past, including notable characters for more than 30 years at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. As a character interpreter, he has developed depictions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lord Botetourt, Peyton Randolph, John Greenhow and Lewis Burwell, among others. He holds a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in theatrical production and a master’s degree in acting and directing from the University of Arizona in Tucson.
USCIS Norfolk Field Office Immigration Services Director Frank Reffel will administer the Oath of Allegiance to participants and, with Immigration Services officers Lauren Lipchak and Omer Martin, present each with a Certificate of Citizenship. Individuals who are under 18 at the time their parents are naturalized are eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship. Candidates who are adopted by American citizens also are eligible.
Others with a role in the program are members of the George Wythe Society Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) and Jamestown Settlement Honor Guard, who will escort the 50 participants into Jamestown Settlement’s Robins Foundation Theater; Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Senior Director of Museum Education & Operations Peter Armstrong; Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR Regent Virginia Lee and Second Vice Regent and Americanism Chairman Sandy Reese; and George Wythe Society C.A.R. Treasurer Meredith Pons.
Following the ceremony, participants and their families have an opportunity to take a guided tour of Jamestown Settlement, which chronicles 17th-century Virginia and the convergence of American Indian, European and African cultures through gallery exhibits and historical interpretation in outdoor settings: replicas of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 and re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village and 1610-14 English fort. Operated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an educational agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 in James City County, just southwest of the City of Williamsburg. For information about the museum, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838 or visit hif.ciniva.net.