VALLEY FORGE, Pennsylvania — The National Park Service (NPS) along with the Philadelphia field office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed twenty new American citizens at a ceremony held at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
The ceremony was held at the statue of General Friedrich von Steuben, near the park’s Grand Parade. Von Steuben was an immigrant from Prussia, who came to the United States during the Valley Forge encampment and played a crucial role in professionalizing the United States Army. The National German American Alliance commissioned the statue in 1915 to honor the contributions of German immigrants to the United States.
Keynote speakers included Mayor Pete Urscheler of Phoenixville Borough, Pennsylvania, and Victoria Drzymala of the office of Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan. Their remarks reflected their experiences of growing up as the children of naturalized citizens and sense of community that comes with citizenship. Additional support for the ceremony was provided by the Washington Memorial Chapel, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Valley Forge Park Alliance.
For many of the new citizens, it was their first time visiting Valley Forge and the backdrop of a national park added to the significance of the day. USCIS Philadelphia Field Office Director Michael Catalano said “We love doing the outdoor ceremonies, the scenery and the history here make this so special for the new citizens”.