It was Patrick Henry’s impassioned plea of “Give me liberty or give me death!” that has endured as the world’s most famous cry for freedom. That cry and the events it inspired attract immigrants and refugees alike who believe in the freedoms on which our nation was formed.
On Friday, May 5, the Patrick Henry National Memorial will host its annual Naturalization Ceremony at 11 a.m. on the beautiful grounds of Red Hill, Henry's last home and burial place, overlooking the Satunton River Valley.
Citizen applicants earn the right to become U.S. citizens by meeting several requirements, one of which is to pass a test demonstrating the applicant’s ability to read, write, and speak basic English. Applicants must also show that they have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government. Among the many questions individuals have been given to study has been, “Who declared, ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’?”
The final step in the process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, the Naturalization Ceremony welcomes citizens to celebrate their new status in the country. Approximately thirty individuals will be sworn in by officials of the U.S. District Court - Western District of Virginia.
Prior to the oath ceremony, docents will be available in Patrick Henry’s house and law office to provide information about Henry’s life at Red Hill in the 1790s starting at 9:00 a.m. Eighteenth century interpreters will demonstrate blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, and will be in the historic buildings. Seating begins at 10:15 and visitors are invited to stay following the ceremony for a reception hosted by the Patrick Henry Auxiliary and Brookneal Woman’s Club.
There will also be patriotic songs performed by students from Brookneal Elementary prior to the program.
There is no admission fee for this event, however, Discover HalifaxVA Tourism is offering a bus tour to the event for $15.