Secretary Wayne Williams welcomes new American citizens, talks about the importance of voting

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, listens as third graders from Graland Country Day School sing at today's naturalization ceremony at History Colorado.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, listens as third graders from Graland Country Day School sing at today’s naturalization ceremony at History Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams welcomed 49 new American citizens from 25 countries today at a naturalization ceremony at History Colorado.

“It’s an exciting day,” Williams told the immigrants, who clutched American flags and beamed for the cameras. “You have an equal right to participate with someone who might have lived here for 93 years. Your participation is what makes this nation different. The people get to make the decisions.”

Immigrants who are waiting to become American citizens sing "The Star Spangled Banner."
Immigrants who are waiting to become American citizens sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Sloane Thompson, 9, and Adam Wang, 8, display the gifts Graland students made for the new citizens.
Sloane Thompson, 9, and Adam Wang, 8, display the gifts Graland students gave the new citizens.

Williams stressed that his office will aid the new citizens achieve the American dream by helping them register to vote, start a new business or get involved in a charity.

“I am honored to be with you,” he said.

Also speaking at the event were representatives from U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet’s office and Congressman Mike Coffman.

Third graders from the Graland Country Day School in Denver made gift packages for the new citizens, led them in the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “Hello to all the Children of the World.”

The new citizens hail from 25 countries, including Australia, Bulgaria,  Iraq. Mexico, Thailand and Russia.