WILLIAMSBURG, Va., February 28, 2012 – For the first time in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, a Certificate of Citizenship ceremony will be held at Jamestown Settlement history museum for children of recently naturalized United States citizens. The event on Saturday, March 10, is hosted by the Williamsburg Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security.
Twenty-six young people ages 9 to 20 from 18 countries – Bangladesh, Burma, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Ukraine and the United Kingdom – 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.
”We are very excited about this partnership with the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation to host a youth Certificate of Citizenship ceremony for the first time in the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown triangle,” said Virginia Lee, vice chairman of Americanism for the Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR, which co-sponsors an adult naturalization ceremony annually in December with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “Our nation had its beginnings in this region, and Jamestown Settlement provides an ideal setting to recognize these new citizens.”
Featured speaker for the event is Dr. Robert E. Martínez of Norfolk, who received a Certificate of Citizenship at age 16 after his parents were naturalized. Dr. Martínez is vice president business development at Norfolk Southern Corporation and a member of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors.
USCIS Norfolk Field Office Director Stephanie Reither will administer the Oath of Allegiance to participants and, with Immigration Services Officer Deborah Martin, present a Certificate of Citizenship to each. Individuals who are under 18 at the time their parents are naturalized are entitled to a Certificate of Citizenship. Those age 14 and over are required to take the Oath of Allegiance before a USCIS officer.
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 26 participants into Jamestown Settlement’s Robins Foundation Theater; Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., President Sue H. Gerdelman; Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR Regent Pamela R. Meiring and Second Vice Regent, Americanism Chairman Joni Stevens; George Wythe Society C.A.R. President Madison Pons; and vocalist Jane Hanson.
Following the ceremony, participants and their families will be provided 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, 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.