Monticello Hosts Ceremony for New U.S. Citizens

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

July 4, 2006

This Independence Day is not just about a celebration of freedom, it's a day that will live on in the hearts of 69 new United States citizens.

It was 10 years ago when the Skove family visited their first naturalization ceremony at Monticello.

"There were many children being naturalized as U.S. Citizens and so we were inspired from the ceremony to adopt our two children," said Kim Oppenheim-Skove.

Nine year-old Jenna was naturalized a few years ago and now their youngest adopted daughter from India, named Kara, just became a U.S. Citizen. Her dad couldn't be more proud.

"I'm so glad to hear the judge say that we couldn't do it without you because I couldn't do it without this little girl and I'm so, so proud to be here today," said Jamie Skove, Kara's father.

Each one of the 69 people who were naturalized had their own stories of struggles and hardships, which made this day even more meaningful.

"I just want to remind everybody how lucky we are to live in a country where there is no war and where there's freedom," said a new U.S. citizen.

"I still remember the day when I was about to come over [to America] and my wife objected to it. She fought with me [because] she didn't want to come. She's sitting right there proud of the certificate she got [for being a citizen]," said another new U.S. citizen.

It was 230 years ago that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Once the new citizens were sworn in at Jefferson's home they said they had an overwhelming feeling of freedom and independence, but for the Skove family, they said they finally feel equal.

"Now we're all the same nationality and we are very happy. We have worked very long and hard to get to this moment so we are very, very happy," said Kim Oppenheim-Skove.

Since 1963, nearly 3,000 people have been sworn in as American citizens at Monticello's 4th of July celebration.

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