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Bush helps swear in citizens as hecklers shout

  • Story Highlights
  • President Bush helps swear in new citizens in historic Monticello
  • 72 men and women from 30 different countries took the oath of citizenship
  • Protesters shouted "War criminal!" at him and "Impeach Bush!"
  • About nine hecklers removed from ceremony
  • Next Article in Politics »
From Kathleen Koch
CNN Correspondent
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(CNN) -- President Bush traveled to the home of Thomas Jefferson Friday to help swear in new U.S. citizens as part of Independence Day celebrations.

President Bush helps swear in new citizens in Charltottesville, Virginia, Friday.

President Bush helps swear in new citizens in Charltottesville, Virginia, Friday.

"When you raise your hands and take the oath you will complete an incredible journey. This journey has taken you from many different countries and has now made you one people," Bush said at the naturalization ceremony at historic Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"From this day forward, the history of the United States will be part of your heritage. The Fourth of July will be a part of your independence day and I will be honored to call you a fellow American." he said.

Bush was heckled several times, with some people yelling "War criminal!" One man shouted, "This man has brought fascism to our shores!" About nine people were removed from the ceremony.

"Impeach Bush. Impeach Bush. Amend the Constitution," shouted another protester, prompting both cheers and boos from the audience of about 3,000 people. Video Watch protesters heckle the president »

Bush appeared to depart from his prepared speech to reply: "To my fellow citizens-to-be, we believe in freedom in the United States of America," eliciting loud cheers.

Bush was joined by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, state and local dignitaries.

Seventy-two men and women from 30 different countries took the oath of citizenship. Two children were also be presented with certificates of U.S. citizenship.

Naturalization ceremonies have long been a traditional part of Fourth of July celebrations at Monticello, with about 3,000 people becoming new citizens there since 1963.

Bush is the fourth sitting president to participate in the annual ceremony, the first since Gerald R. Ford in 1976. Harry S. Truman in 1947 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 were the others.

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Afterward, Bush returns to the White House where he and first lady Laura Bush will welcome friends and family for a Fourth of July celebration.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says the event is also an opportunity to celebrate the president's July 6 birthday. Bush will be 62.

CNN's Ed Hornick and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

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