‘Your country needs you’

Published 10:17 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Your country needs you. That the message delivered by District Court Judge Norman K. Moon as Red Hill held its annual Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, May 10.

They came from across the region. Residents of Prince Edward, Cumberland and Charlotte counties all made it clear they want to be citizens.

Moon reminded those applicants and others in attendance that citizenship comes with privileges and responsibilities, responsibilities to serve their community and take action through voting.

“As Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington in 1786, ‘our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves,’” Moon said. “Your new country needs you. It needs your participation as citizens. It needs your energy, labor. It needs your intelligence and it needs your wisdom. And above all, it needs your loyalty and devotion.”


This marked the sixteenth such ceremony to be held at Red Hill, hosted by the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation. Red Hill is both Patrick Henry’s last home and serves as his burial place. And he also has a connection with the naturalization process that ended this month on his property. In order to become U.S. citizens, residents have to meet several requirements. One of those is to pass tests proving they can read, write and speak basic English.

The connection with Henry comes after that, when they take a test showing knowledge of U.S. history and government. One of the questions these applicants are asked is ‘Who declared, ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’?”

Several applicants in years past have said that cry of ‘give me liberty’ is akin to what made them come to America in the first place. They are immigrants and some are refugees, fleeing war in different parts of the world. But above all, they want to be free.

And they took that final step on May 10, as each applicant raised their hand and was sworn in as a new American citizen. According to Red Hill staff, an estimated 30 applicants took part in this year’s ceremony.