Park Service celebrates 100th birthday with special naturalization ceremony, ‘living emblem’

National Park Service Emblem A Park Service volunteer helps direct participants at they begin to assemble into a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
National Park Service Emblem Melissa Chin, poses for a photo with Washington Nationals Mascots George and Teddy, before assembling for a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
National Park Service Emblem Ryan Anders, 5, left, is lifted by his father Rob Anders as Ryan's brother Wesley, 7, right, raise their umbrellas as they assemble into a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Forty naturalization candidates originating from 33 countries take the oath of allegiance under the direction of USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez. (Photo courtesy US Citizenship and Immigration Services)
General John M. Paxton, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps was the keynote speaker at the Naturalization Ceremony. "I congratulate all of you for seizing an ideal and for recognizing an opportunity," Paxton said. "I wish you nothing but the best in your days ahead as a fellow American citizen." (Photo courtesy U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
APTOPIX National Park Service Emblem This photo provided by the National Park Service shows people on the National Mall in Washington, looking toward the World War II Memorial, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, creating a giant, living version of the National Park Service emblem. Participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem. (Tim Ervin/National Park Service via AP)
Newly naturalized citizen Sandra Hernandez of Centreville, Virginia, is flanked by husband Christian Hernandez and friend Yanira Vijil. "I'm so happy for her. You get a lot of benefits for (citizenship) like the right to vote," Vijil said. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A special naturalization ceremony held at the World War II Memorial Aug. 25 to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (WTOP/Kristi King)
National Park Service Emblem This photo provided by the National Park Service shows people on the National Mall in Washington, looking toward the World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, creating a giant, living version of the National Park Service emblem. Participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem. (Tim Ervin/National Park Service via AP)
APTOPIX National Park Service Emblem Participants assemble into a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem and posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
National Park Service Emblem Randle Highlands Elementary School fourth graders, center, from left, Zaria Russell, Zani La McElwain, and Kelsi Williams raise their umbrella while assembling into a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
National Park Service Emblem People assemble for a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
National Park Service Emblem Ryan Anders, 5, left, is lifted up by his father Rob Anders while assembling into a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
National Park Service Emblem People wait before assembling into a living version of the National Park Service's iconic Arrowhead emblem, near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. More than 1,000 participants used brown, green and white umbrellas to create the emblem during an event that took place on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. They also posed for a group photo that was being taken from a helicopter hovering overhead. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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WASHINGTON  — More than 1,000 people using brown, green and white umbrellas created a giant living version of the National Park Service emblem Thursday. Later, 40 people from 33 different countries took part in a special naturalization ceremony at the World War II memorial.

Both events were held to honor the 100th anniversary of the National Park service.

“National parks belong to all of us,” said NPS Spokeswoman Kathy Kupper. “They’re the most important natural and scenic spaces we have in our country and there’s no better place to welcome our newest citizens and to show them what is now part theirs as new citizens of the United States.”

All told, 16 naturalization ceremonies were held Thursday in parks nationwide. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Sevice’s goal is to hold at least 100 throughout the year to honor the park service anniversary. After Thursday’s ceremonies, it’s held 78.

Also, to mark Thursday’s 100th anniversary — there will be free admission for all visitors into all national parks throughout the weekend.

The Park Service took an aerial photograph of Thursday’s gathering on the mall. The first 1,000 people to arrive received a T-shirt commemorating their participation and were allowed to keep their umbrella.

The park service says its emblem contains elements symbolizing the major facets of the national park system. A Sequoia tree and bison represent vegetation and wildlife, mountains and water represent scenery and recreation, and the arrowhead shape represents history and archaeology.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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