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Becoming ‘Fellow Americans’

Seven hundred people and their families await the start of their naturalization ceremony in the auditorium of Hayfield Secondary School on July 10. The 700 will shortly renounce allegiance to the 96 countries from whence they came to swear allegiance to the United States of America.

Seven hundred people and their families await the start of their naturalization ceremony in the auditorium of Hayfield Secondary School on July 10. The 700 will shortly renounce allegiance to the 96 countries from whence they came to swear allegiance to the United States of America. Photo by Deb Cobb.

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Khatira Alvarez (left), of Springfield, and Laura Simon-Salzer, of McLean, are both visibly moved moments after they have taken the Oath of Allegiance and become naturalized American citizens at a ceremony on July 10, held in the Hayfield Secondary School auditorium.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America…" The sound of the Pledge of Allegiance echoed through the Hayfield Secondary School auditorium on July 10 as 700 newly naturalized American citizens, from 96 countries, made their first act after taking their oath, pledging allegiance to the flag.

The first of six ceremonies to be conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at Hayfield Secondary School this summer, the ceremony represents the culmination of years of work and the successful completion of a long process for the new citizens.