Constitution Week is annually observed Sept. 17-23. The flags posted along Greenville streets last Friday, Sept. 17 were to commemorate Constitution/Citizenship Day. The six day period to follow is recognized as Constitution Week. Never forget those who have struggled and also died to maintain your freedoms as an American.
Sept. 17 is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms and inalienable rights.
Constitution Day and/or Citizenship Day is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens.
It is normally observed on Sept. 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention and signed the Constitution in Philadelphia.
It commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men and recognizes all who are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.
A bit of history for Citizenship and Constitution Day
In 1939, the New York City news tycoon William Randolph Hearst suggested the creation of a holiday to celebrate American citizenship. Not only did Hearst have a wide readership of his many daily newspapers, but he had significant political connections, and in 1940, Congress designated the third Sunday in May as “I am an American Day.”
President Harry Truman presented the resolution setting aside this date in honor of the American people, especially those who had recently become citizens of the United States.
The holiday quickly gained support and popularity through the efforts of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. Additionally in 1944, Hearst sponsored a 16 minute film titled ‘I Am an American,’ which was featured in American theaters, and subsequently became a top news story.
It was an immediate hit. Within five years, the governors of the existing 48 states had issued state proclamations in agreement with the national holiday.
One of the most significant individuals in the development of the holiday was a Louisville, Ohio, resident named Olga T. Weber.
In 1952, she petitioned the leaders of the municipality to change the date of the holiday to correspond with the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution.
Once they agreed to it, she didn’t stop there and took her requests to the state, which also approved.
In 1953, Olga went to United States Congress, and both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved her requests.
The original resolution was overturned and a new law took its place.
After Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it, the “I am an American Day” observation became “Citizenship Day” and moved to Sept. 17.
Another important figure in the creation of Constitution Day is Louise Leigh. After taking a course in Constitutional History with the National Center for Constitutional Studies, was inspired to spread her newfound love of the Constitution throughout the country.
In 1997, she founded a nonprofit organization called Constitution Day, Inc. to help encourage recognition of the importance of this national holiday.
Through her efforts, Constitution Day became an official holiday alongside Citizenship Day in 2004 when with the help of support from Senator Robert Byrd, the “Constitution Day” amendment to the Omnibus Spending Bill passed.
In May 2005, the United States Department of Education backed the law when it announced that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.
The two allowances of the law were that the head of every federal agency provide each employee with educational materials concerning the Constitution on 17th of September and that each educational institution which receives Federal funds should hold a program for students every Constitution Day.
A bit of history for Constitution Week
Constitution Week is the commemoration of America’s most important document. It is celebrated annually during the week of Sept. 17-23.
This celebration of the Constitution was started by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1955, DAR petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into public law on Aug. 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The celebration’s goals are threefold: to encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787; to inform people that the Constitution is the basis of America’s great heritage and the foundation of our way of life; and to emphasize U.S. citizens’ responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution.