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Citizens at naturalization ceremony

Celebrating America

Just like many Fourth of July get-togethers around the country, the celebration at Sauder Village is all about tradition. We celebrate our heritage and where we come from, remember the hard work of our native and immigrant ancestors and appreciate the opportunities we have because of our American citizenship.
 
This Fourth of July, we’re proud to welcome a group of new American citizens as we host the U.S. District Court Naturalization Ceremony.
 
Celebrating the future
For five consecutive years, Sauder Village has welcomed 40 to 50 soon-to-be American citizens from more than 20 countries as part of its “Old Fashioned Fourth of July” celebration and naturalization ceremony.
 
In true Sauder fashion, the whole community participates. Local scouts, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members, families, friends and community members gather as a new wave of U.S. citizens pledge their allegiance to their adopted country.
 
At the naturalization ceremony, a recently naturalized citizen speaks about what it means to him or her to become an American, and the flags of the new American citizens’ home countries are displayed beside the American flag. It’s an inspiring, emotional and meaningful day to those celebrating their new citizenship, as well as those who came before.
 
Appreciating the past
It’s hard to look at the future of our country without considering where we’ve come from. We have a fascination with the past and a desire to see history through our ancestors’ eyes. And, given America’s roots, chances are most of our ancestors immigrated from somewhere else, just like the newly naturalized citizens we’re celebrating today.
 
Take Erie Sauder, for example. His ancestors emigrated from Germany and settled in the Great Black Swamp in northwestern Ohio. Erie understood how hard his immigrant family members worked to make a life in the United States, and he never took it for granted. That’s why he created Sauder Village, complete with the Natives and Newcomers and Pioneer Settlement exhibits — to help others understand how their ancestors built the United States into the country it is today. And it’s why Sauder Village hosts the annual naturalization ceremony on the Fourth of July — to celebrate all those who have come to the United States for opportunity.
 
American flags hanging on storefront

 
Reflecting on your history
This Fourth of July, as you’re celebrating America’s 238th birthday with fireworks, hot dogs and baseball, take some time to think about what the day really means. For many immigrants, the Fourth of July is a day for them to begin — or look back on — their own entry into America’s history books.
 
Also take a moment to think about where you come from. Ask your grandparents or great-grandparents about the origins of some of your oldest family traditions. Or sign up for a membership on a genealogy website (many of them offer the first month free) and research your family history. Then let us know — where do your roots originate?
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