Dozens gain U.S. citizenship in ceremony at Frontier Culture Museum

Published: Sep. 20, 2017 at 11:18 AM EDT
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The Shenandoah Valley now has 79 brand-new citizens in the community after a Naturalization Ceremony held at Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum.

The Honorable Joel C. Hoppe administered the Oath of Citizenship Tuesday, and one man had the opportunity to tell his story.

"It's a great country, a beautiful country of opportunities," said Jean Claude Hatungimana.

Hatungimana was the keynote speaker.

To come to the United States, Hatungimana traveled 7,000 miles from Burundi, located in east Africa. He was originally headed to Oregon, but landed in Staunton instead.

After visiting the Frontier Culture Museum years ago on the Fourth of July, he now works there as a historic interpreter.

"This is my new home. I like the community here in Staunton," said Hatungimana. "It's small city, it's beautiful, very calm. I like nature, and I like Staunton."

Jean-Claude has lived in Staunton since 2011 and was recently joined by his wife and his new baby daughter.

"This is a good country, a big country. And being part of this country, becoming a citizen, this is something I will not take for granted."

The Massanutten Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Fishburne Military School Color Guard, and the Stonewall Brigade Band were also in attendance.

Delegate Richard "Dickie" Bell introduced Jean-Claude Hatungimana, and the attendees took their Oath of Citizenship and recited the Pledge of Allegiance together.