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Monticello hosts Annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony

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Lisa Shkoga Lisa Shkoga
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The 55th annual Independence Day celebration and naturalization ceremony at Monticello took place to celebrate the “great birthday of our republic.” 

Thousands of people attended the event to watch more than 70 people from over 30 countries receive official certification of U.S. citizenship. The new citizens say the process was challenging, but well worth it. 

"It is a very long process I think I started applying for my green card when I was seven or eight and now Im finally natrualized and now Im 19 so its been sort of a decade long process so just to be patient and that it will all be worth it," said Tina Chai, From China. 

“I came to the united states when I was 17 right after high school and it's been lots of unknown and i did not know what was going to happen and I ended up never going home and staying here, I loved it here and I have an incredible life with lots of supportive people in my life,” Lisa Shkoga, from Ukraine. 

The keynote speaker for the event was Ambassador David Saperstein, a rabbi who advocates for religious freedom and social justice.

Since 1963 more than 3,600 people have received the oath of citizenship on the historic West Lawn.

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