U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is urging people to reflect on the ideals of the founding fathers of the United States this Independence Day as nearly 4,000 people prepare to become U.S. citizens.
Americans are readying for the traditional Independence Day festivities of picnicking, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, and watching fireworks and parades this July 4.
Clinton, who will be overseas this Independence Day, issued a pre-taped message to celebrate what she called America's Birthday Party.
"Every year, Americans gather with friends and family on the Fourth of July to celebrate the values that inspired the founders of our nation more than two centuries ago, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," she said.
She urged people to reflect on these ideals, saying they are enshrined in the constitutions of many nations and underscore our common humanity.
"We're very proud of our founders. Those brave patriots championed those rights 234 years ago, and they've been inspiring people not only in my country but around the world ever since. I know they inspire me," Clinotn added.
On the subject of founding fathers, naturalization ceremonies will be held this July 4th at Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, and George Washington's estate, Mount Vernon, both in Virginia. In fact, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says more than 3,800 people will become U.S. citizens in 55 special ceremonies in the U.S. and abroad this first week of July.
Special naturalization ceremonies also include one at Ellis Island in New York Harbor, where more than 12 million immigrants entered the United States between 1892 and 1954. And 110 people took the Oath of Allegiance outdoors before a bevy of rockets when Kennedy Space Center hosted its first naturalization ceremony on July .
Plus, the U.S. says more than 500 military service members will become citizens at all-military ceremonies in Seoul, Frankfurt, Baghdad and elsewhere.