RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Monday, 569 people from 85 countries officially became United States citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Siegel Center in Richmond.

Judge David J. Novak of the Eastern District of Virginia presided over the ceremony. Senjiv Yajnik of Capital One, and Fotis Sotiropolous, Ph.D. of Virginia Commonwealth University, both of whom are naturalized U.S. citizens themselves, spoke during the event.

“Participating in this ceremony is an honor that reminds me of when I became a proud, naturalized citizen some 23 years ago,” Sotiropoulos said. “In my experience, America remains true to its promise as the land of opportunity. I am eternally grateful for the chance I received to pursue and realize my version of the American Dream, and I wish our new fellow citizens all the best as they pursue the endless possibilities that are now opening to them.”

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Sept. 17 is Citizenship Day, chosen to coincide with the day the Constitution was signed in 1787.

This year, the holiday is being celebrated with more than 6,900 people set to be sworn in as citizens in more than 130 naturalization ceremonies across the country between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22.