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Vienna to welcome new citizens with first-ever naturalization ceremony on Fourth of July weekend

The U.S., Virginia, and Vienna flags fly from the veterans’ memorial fountain by the Town Green (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

More than a dozen immigrants will experience their first moments as U.S. citizens at the Vienna Town Green this Saturday (July 2).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will hold a naturalization ceremony that day for 15 people from Canada, the Congo, and other nations, who will take the Oath of Allegiance pledging support for their new home country at 5 p.m.

It will be the first time that the Town of Vienna has hosted the ceremony, which formally grants voting rights and other legal protections afforded to native-born Americans.

“The decision to renounce allegiance to one’s country of birth to become a United States citizen must be very emotional,” Vienna Parks and Recreation Event Coordinator Lily Widman said in a news release. “Our homeland is such a big part of our identity, yet, for hundreds of years people from other countries who admire our way of life in the United States have taken the necessary steps to go through the process, which is not easy, and their journey is truly inspiring.”

The ceremony will take place during a “mini-fest” as part of Vienna’s second annual Liberty Amendments Month commemorating four Constitutional amendments that collectively abolished slavery and expanded citizenship and voting rights.

After kicking the festivities off on June 18 with a Juneteenth Celebration, the town has dedicated the week of June 26 to July 2 to the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the U.S. and prohibits states from denying people life, liberty, or property without due process.

In addition to the naturalization ceremony, the 14th Amendment Mini-Fest will feature kids’ activities, moon bounces, food trucks, a League of Women Voters Fairfax voter registration booth, a performance by hip-hop musician Christylez Bacon, and a “Justice for All” concert presented by the Vienna Presbyterian Church.

Other events scheduled for this week include “Archiving the Path of Liberty: The Fairfax Files,” a discussion with local historians at the Vienna Community Center tonight (Wednesday), and the Independence Day Celebration on Friday (July 1).

Liberty Amendments Month will continue through July 19, with future weeks centered on the 15th and 19th amendments, which extended the right to vote to all citizens regardless of race or gender.

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