Within the halls of the oldest representative body in the U.S., in the very same seats that Virginia lawmakers craft legislation, sat 44 people from 32 different countries who, for the first time, were called “Americans.”
It was all part of a naturalization ceremony at the State Capitol that, for some, marked a decades-long journey for U.S. citizenship.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hannah Lauck presided—and called on the new citizens not to leave behind their heritage. He also spoke of being patriots and not taking American rights for granted. She urged the citizens to fight for them, and stay civically engaged, vote, and serve as jurors—which many Americans who were born here, grumble about when they're called to do so.