30th ANNUAL NATURALIZATION CEREMONY
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On Friday, July 4, 2014, the Ethnic Heritage Council hosted the 30th Annual Naturalization Ceremony at Seattle Center, from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Over 425 candidates, from more than 75 countries, were sworn in by The Honorable Richard C. Tallman, U.S. Circuit Court Judge, as new citizens of the United States of America. Produced by the Ethnic Heritage Council, Seattle Center, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, this is by far one of the most meaningful and moving Fourth of July events in the region. While this is an especially important day for the many new citizens, coming from a variety of nations and cultures, it aroused great interest among friends and families as well as from the community at large. The Naturalization Ceremony also serves to reaffirm the deeper meaning of citizenship of the United States of America. The public is encouraged to attend the free event.
The ceremony included speeches by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, U.S. Representative Jim McDermott, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams,, with Seattle City Mayor Ed Murray as Master of Ceremonies.
Greenwood Concert Band gave a pre-ceremony performance beginning at 11:00am. The formal program began at 12:00 noon, commencing with the presentation of colors by the I Corps Honor Guard, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the singing of the United States National Anthem, and immediately followed by a performance from Native American performers Gene Tagaban, Peter Ali & Swil Kanim. A musical treasure of our pacific northwest, Total Experience Gospel Choir, directed by Patrinell Wright, also performed during the cermony. All countries represented were announced and the eldest applicant for citizenship were introduced. The Children of the World will lead the new citizens in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance for their first time.
Each year, the Ethnic Heritage Council honors a naturalized citizen who has made outstanding contribution to his or her adopted country, the U.S.A., while maintaining his or her ethnic heritage. Congressman Jim McDermott will present the 2014 "Spirit of Liberty Award" to Danish-American Jens Lund.
30th Annual Naturalization Ceremony is produced by the Ethnic Heritage Council, a non-profit organization formed in 1980, Seattle Center, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and United States Department of Homeland Security. Proudly sponsored by Seattle Center, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, King County Office of Dow Constantine, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, PEMCO Insurance, University Lions Club Foundation, Seattle International District Rotary Club, Seattle Post #1-American Legion, and supported by Daughters of the American Revolution-Rainier Chapter, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund.. Since its inception, the Council has worked to promote inter-ethnic communication and cultural preservation in the Northwest.
EHC Annual Events - photos by Jal: Naturalization Ceremony; Annual Dinner; Cultural Crossroads; Winter Worldfest. Photos by Jal Schrof © EHC.
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