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Peculiarities of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in the USA

September 17, 2017

Peculiarities of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in the USA

General information

Americans commemorate the process when the Constitution was established on the 17th of September in 1787. It was the actual reason why Constitution Day and Citizenship Day have appeared in the United States.

This holiday dates back to 1940 – the year of the joint resolution that was passed by Congress to the President. In fact, it contained a request to the President regarding a proclamation that should be issued each year and would set aside the third Sunday in May when all citizens honored and recognized those who had got the status of American citizenship. Frankly speaking, this day was called “I Am An American Day”.

Twelve years later, this joint resolution was revoked by Congress that decided to pass a new law that was supposed to move the date to the 17th of September. Such changes were obviously made for the observance of September 17 when the Constitution of the United States of America was formed and signed. The name of this day didn’t become different. What is more, the original purpose of honoring those who are American citizens retained. As a matter of fact, this law encouraged civil as well as educational authorities of all states, counties, cities, towns to organize an appropriate celebration of the day. Apart from that, they needed to completely instruct citizens concerning responsibilities and opportunities they were given in our country.

In 2004, Senator Byrd urged that Congress should change the designation of this holiday to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day”. In addition, two more requirements with regard to this Day were added. The first one was about the new responsibility for the head of each federal agency who should give all employees educational and training materials regarding the Constitution on the 17th of September. As far as the second requirement is concerned, it referred to all educational institutions who were obliged to hold a special program for students on this holiday.

History

This day has its origin in 1911 – a year when Iowa schools became pioneers in Constitution Day recognition. Six years later, one of the societies with the name the Sons of the American Revolution gathered a committee for promotion of Constitution Day.

In 1940, “I am an American Day” was declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Thus, the third Sunday in May was chosen for its observance. On the 29th of February, in 1952, the name was changed to “Citizenship Day”. Its celebration moved to September 17. Only in 2004, the day began to be called Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

Thanks to this holiday, American citizens can take advantage of an opportunity to commemorate the formation of the supreme law, rejoice about the privileges as well as responsibilities that each U.S. citizen possesses. Not only native-born but also naturalized citizens take part in this celebration.

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