As new Americans become citizens, July 4 is a special day

Thousands of people will be sworn in as naturalized U.S. citizens on the Fourth of July — the day Americans celebrate their nation’s birthday.

Every year on July 4, historic venues — including George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Independence National Historical Park and Calvin Coolidge Homestead — host naturalization ceremonies. The U.S., which naturalized more than 770,200 citizens in 2017, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, welcomed more than 15,000 new citizens at over 65 Independence Day ceremonies last year.

People standing in a line raising right hands to take an oath of allegiance (© Mel Evans/AP Images)
Soon-to-be citizens stand in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty for a July 4 ceremony at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. (© Mel Evans/AP Images)

Taking the oath amid history

Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, continues a tradition and hosts a naturalization ceremony on the Fourth of July.

The museum is home to 40 historic buildings and is staffed by authentically costumed historians who portray what life was like in rural New England in the 1830s. On Independence Day, the past meets the present when nearly 100 immigrants recite the Oath of Allegiance before members of the Sturbridge community, museumgoers and staff members.

“For both the people who are taking the oath and for the people watching who are American citizens, it is a reminder of what the day means and why it is important to recognize it,” says Michael Arnum, a museum staff member.

Men dressed in period costume walking in a parade (Courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village)
The Sturbridge celebration features musical performances, a flag ceremony and a march performed by costumed re-enactors. (Courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village)

Each new citizen naturalized at the Sturbridge Fourth of July ceremony receives a one-year museum membership and a custom mug made at the museum’s historic pottery shop.