Naturalization Ceremonies Return To The Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Naturalization Ceremonies Return To The Tri-Cities

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- Naturalization ceremonies would normally be held in Spokane. But now they're being held in the Tri-Cities once again.

Friends and family members were camera ready for the big moment, on Friday.

For many of these new citizens it's been years of waiting. For Svitlana Sweet, from the Ukraine, it's been eight.

"It was very hard for me because I had to start everything from zero in a new country, without family, without financial support," said Sweet.

Even day to day conversations were difficult.  

"I didn't speak English at all, and I carried my dictionary with me everywhere, and people asked me is that your bible?, and I would say yes it's like my bible," said Sweet.

Without her bible now, Svitlana and 27 others first pledged allegiance, and then took the oath.
One by one each new American walked up to get their official certificate.

Among them Marlene Sourani, a native of Canada, who says it's taken almost 40 years to get to this point.

"I can vote, I can be a participating member, and it's like I'm whole again," said Sourani.

"I already took some films and I'm putting them on you tube so that everybody can see everything," said Olga, a woman from Colombia who became a citizen.

Everything for these new citizens, summed up with a few simple words.

"I'm an American now," said Sweet.