More than 500 people from 80 countries marked Independence Day by becoming U.S. Citizens at the 35th Annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at the Seattle Center. Hundreds came out to witness the event.
The annual event held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the largest Naturalization Ceremony in Washington. It featured speeches by elected officials including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. It also included a Native American performance of “The Spirit of We the People” by Storyteller Gene Tagaban and Violinist Swil Kanim. Maria Plancich Kesovija sang the National Anthem, Josephine Howell sang “America the Beautiful.”
Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez administered the Oath of Allegiance to the 500 new United States citizens, including dozens of people currently serving in the U.S. military, and the oldest person at the ceremony, 79-year-old Genovera Olivar from the Philippines.
After the official ceremony ended many of the newly sworn in citizens took the opportunity to register to vote. A privilege they now have as citizens of the United States.
Featured Photo: More than 500 people from 80 Countries became U.S. Citizens at the 35th Annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)