This outdoor naturalization ceremony for new citizens on Monticello’s West Lawn is one of America’s most inspiring July 4 events. The 2010 ceremony featured the remarks of actress and comedienne Tracey Ulman.

Good morning, everyone. Good morning. My name is Tracey Ullman, and I became an American in 2006. I'm from England and I did not come here because I was persecuted or a refugee. England's a wonderful country and I love being British. But after having lived here for 25 years, raised two children here, been welcomed by the creative community, and had a wonderful career, I realized how much I love this country to become an American.

Minus the paperwork. So with the election of 2008 looming, I took the opportunity offered to me to become a citizen. Join in properly. I wanted to vote. And now so have you. I think I know a bit about how you're feeling this morning. You've come to the end of a long process. Lawyers, interviews and tests.

Okay. Pop quiz. How many stripes are on the American flag? 13. Correct. Correct. Who said give me liberty or give me death? Patrick Henry? Yes. And what form is required to petition for United States citizenship? Is it the N200 or the N400? Did you say that? Someone said 200. I'm so sorry. We're going to have to deport you. Sorry about that.

I'm just kidding. Goodness. That part is over, right? Oh, and you will now be asked to renounce your precious green card. That was a very, very scary moment for me because I'd gotten used to the picture of me revealing my ear, looking like Spock's sister. 

And soon after that, you will be sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America on the hallowed grounds of Monticello. And maybe like I did, you will feel different. You will feel like you really belong as a child. Growing up in a working class household in the U.K., I saw many images of America. Everyone seemed to have lots of everything, didn't they?

Washing machines, cars, TVs, food. Americans had white teeth and confidence. I remember watching the Olympic Games and loving their national anthem. Well, you heard it often enough, didn't you? Because they always seemed to be winning. I didn't hear the British anthem God Save the Queen much because Britain loves the bronze medal. You know, I think even if we won the gold, we'd say, it's all right. 

I'd rather have a bronze. It's the confidence thing again. I didn't travel to America until I was in my early twenties. I first arrived in New York, and as I crossed the 59th Street Bridge into Manhattan, I saw the famous skyline and my stomach went and I thought, Here it is the big time, the land of liberty. And it was thrilling.

People of all nationalities, just like you, endeavoring to make a living in that big, noisy, crazy city. And America seemed to say, You want it, come and get it. But you're on your own. Sure, sure. It's tough, but if you work hard, you can be any one you want to be. Your kid could grow up to be president.

But in England, I couldn't have grown up to be one of the royal family. And that had always rankled with me as my father in law. Vic once said, Why do we pay the royal family millions of pounds to be better than us? Good question. It's so obvious to me why Americans decided to break away from the British and declare independence. 

Why should they have remained beholden to a monarch thousands of miles away and paying tax? If Jefferson was in this house? Now, I know I could walk in and have a conversation with him about this issue. I'd also like to ask him how he justified keeping slaves. Evil men were declared equal. That's a tricky one that.

But that's the part of the American dream I aspire to -- and he did, too -- the right to question the system, welcome change, demand that all voices and cultures be heard. I'm sure he would have been relieved to show me back out to the garden before I started on about how long it took for women to get the vote. "And another thing!" Mr. Jefferson.

So after my initiation in New York, I stayed in America. I traveled to more than just the East and West coasts. My education began. I sat for hours in the Museum of Television and Broadcasting, watching seminal American television shows. Being a comedic actress, I learned so much from Lucille Ball. Gracie Allen. Carol BURNETT. Lily Tomlin. Gilda Radner. Women had their own TV shows in America long before their counterparts in the UK. These women were fearless, outrageous. They had heart and, of course, confidence.

I love public television and National Public Radio. I still do. I appreciate their straightforward uncommercial approach. I imagine I received at least a high school education in American history by watching the documentaries made by Ken Burns about the American West, jazz, baseball, the Civil War. I never tire of watching the camera push in on a black and white photograph of Lincoln's noble, craggy face as a fiddle plays a haunting melody. 

It made me understand the importance of a nation that encourages and respect the achievements of the individual. It's not perfect here. It can be puritanical, brash and extreme. Sometimes it's just all too much, too much emotion, too much personal exhibitionism, too much food, too much waste. Americans seem to speculate and overanalyze everything. It's like the whole nation is in perpetual group therapy.

But it's the curiosity, this commitment to an ideal that drives us forward. Notice I said us because the US now includes me. I no longer need to say them or they are Americans. And after today, nor will you, because you too will have achieved the honor. We'll all be in this together.

But never forget where you are from. You're not supposed to. All the good things you have learned from your country of origin, the traditions you uphold, need to be shared. America is a big melting pot. They should get out and about more. By the way, 80% of Americans don't have passports. Oops. I said very again. Old habits die hard. I meant we should travel more.

Connect with the global community. We are all interlinked. But at the end of the day, it's so great to come home to this corner of the Earth and feel that here you can find the best possible version of yourself. I must admit I felt daunted about being here today at this auspicious place, the home of one of our founding fathers, a national treasure.

I mean, how on earth does little Tracey Ullman from Slough, England, end up having the privilege of telling you about my personal journey? And then I thought. Confidence. Tracey. Why not you? That's the American way, isn't it? You've worked hard. You've earned the right. And let's face it. If I hadn't headed west and created The Tracey Ullman Show, The Simpsons might never have existed.

I have made an indelible mark on the cultural heritage of this land.

So thank you so much, all of you, for inviting me here today. It's an honor. I have such admiration and respect for all of you gathered here today, waiting to take the next step in your lives. Enjoy this moment because you, too, have earned it. You too deserve it. Now go forth with confidence. Thank you.


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