by Susan Fried (words and photos)
A beautiful sunny day greeted hundreds of family, friends and well wishers attending July 4th’s 2017 Naturalization Ceremony at Seattle Center. Through rain or sunshine, the Center has hosted the event for more than 33 years. Tuesday morning’s festivities saw 506 people from 67 countries officially become US Citizens.
Numerous elected officials on hand included Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Maria Cantwell, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Mayor Ed Murray who MC’d the event. During separate remarks, each expressed a deep fondness for the ceremony.
Judge Richard C. Tallman administered The Oath of Citizenship which includes the words “I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic: that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same” to the 506 new Americans, who happily recited them.
The crowd was entertained by Navy Band Northwest, the Total Experience Gospel Choir and a special Native American performance of “The Spirit of We the People” by storyteller Gene Tagaban, violinist Swil Kanim and flutist Peter Ali.
Governor Inslee and Senator Cantwell joined the other government officials in congratulating the new citizens and stressing the importance of civic engagement. The electeds also encouraged their new constituents to vote.
Following the ceremony the new citizens exchanged their green cards for official Naturalization papers.