More than 500 Become U.S. Citizens at Seattle Center on July 4

by Susan Fried

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.

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Liya, 8, attends the Naturalization ceremony for her mother Elsa, July 4 at the Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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The over 500 people being sworn in as new U.S. Citizens and the audience stand for the National Anthem during the 35th annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A women from Armenia says the Pledge of Allegiance along with 500 people from 80 countries being sworn in as U.S. Citizens July 4, during the 35th annual Naturalization Ceremony at Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Members of the Children of Our Nations recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the 500 people newly sworn in as U.S. Citizens during the 35th annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Hundreds of family, friends, and members of the public gathered at Seattle Center to watch more than 500 people from 80 countries become U.S. Citizens at the 35th Annual Naturalization ceremony. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Genovera Olivar, 79, from the Philippines, stands up after being introduced as the oldest person being sworn in as a U.S. Citizen during the 35th Annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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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)
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Elsa from Eritrea poses with her son Yosyas, 14, before the 35th Annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at Seattle Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Maazen, 1, sits with his parents and brothers during the 35th Annual Naturalization Ceremony July 4 at Seattle Center. His parents, who are from Sudan, became U.S. Citizens at the ceremony. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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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)

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)

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