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June 3, 2008

Citizen candidates become Americans during CW's Flag Day Naturalization Ceremony June 14

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation welcomes 100 new American citizens during the inaugural Flag Day Naturalization Ceremony 9 a.m. Saturday, June 14 in an outdoor ceremony on Courthouse Green in the Historic Area. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department will co-sponsor the ceremony. Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni will be the featured speaker.

“The acceptance of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship is a profound moment,” said Colin G. Campbell, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation who will greet the citizen candidates and their families. “Colonial Williamsburg’s Education for Citizenship initiative is about taking part in the democratic process. This year on Flag Day, 100 individuals will take their first step of the citizenship journey.”

This year’s speaker Gen. Anthony Zinni is president of international operations for M.I.C. Industries Inc. Previously, he served as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Central Command, retiring from that post in July 2000. His military service has taken him to more than 70 countries including deployments to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Western Pacific, Northern Europe, Africa and Asia.

Gen. Zinni also has participated in diplomatic missions assigned to him by the President of the United States to Somalia, Pakistan and Ethiopia-Eritrea and in State Department missions involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and conflicts in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Gen. Zinni holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Villanova University, a master's in international relations from Salve Regina College, a master's in management and supervision from Central Michigan University and honorary doctorates from the College of William and Mary and the Maine Maritime Academy. He has received numerous decorations and awards, from the United State and other countries, universities and distinguished organizations.

During the ceremony, Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums will perform. Members of the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 135 under the leadership of assistant scout master Mark J. Wenger will serve as color guard for the event.

Federal Judge James E. Bradberry of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia will preside. U.S. Attorney Virginia Van Valkenburg will give the introduction and Certification of the Candidates. Citizen candidates come from all over the world, including Barbados, Belize, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.

Grant Fabian will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the American’s Creed. Colonial Williamsburg’s Jane Hanson will lead attendees in the “Star Spangled Banner.” She also will present a brief history of “America the Beautiful” and perform the song. Colonial Williamsburg interpreters will conclude the ceremony with a cannon salute.

Area chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution and Colonial Dames will attend the event. The League of Women Voters will welcome the new citizens and encourage them to register to vote.

These new citizens, their families and guests are invited to post images of the day’s ceremony and to blog online about their new citizenship at Created by Colonial Williamsburg, the site fosters online discussion about civic responsibility by engaging a diverse community which, guided by the values and principles of the inventors of democracy, participates in the exploration of citizenship issues. Such online debate encourages participants to consider their obligations to one another as members of a global body politic.

In case of rain, the program will be held at the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square. The public is invited to attend; no ticket or reservations are required.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®,” a dramatic live street theater presentation, is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121