September 17th is Constitution Day (also known as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day”), an event celebrating the ratification of the United States constitution in 1787, and recognizing individuals who have become US citizens. Citizenship Day and Constitution Day were originally two separate holidays. Constitution Day was always celebrated on September 17th, the anniversary date of the document’s ratification, but Citizenship Day was originally celebrated as I Am an American Day on the third Sunday of May when it was created in 1940. In 1952, I Am An American Day was replaced with Citizenship Day by a law signed by President Harry Truman. Fifty-two years later, in December 2004, the two hoidays were combined into one event, “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day”.
Even though I always managed to get good grades, I struggled with civics classes all throughout my school years. I’d like to think my subconscious gave me a mental block due to some early understanding that politics in general have become a farce in the US, but I suppose my difficulties were most likely the result of laziness and disinterest. Which, I admit, is a shame. Although many mistakes were made along the way (like the much debated and deplorably sustained practice of slavery), our country was founded on high ideals. These ideals are worth studying and celebrating. And so are the people who value them enough to want to become a citizen of our great nation.
Originally Chris and I had planned to celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Day today, but as it turns out, the date for that “unofficial” has changed and it will actually be observed next week. Oops! But no worries — we were more than happy to celebrate Constitution Day. We’re very lucky to live so close to the nation’s capitol and the National Archives, and Chris has even seen the Constitution! I believe I saw the Declaration of Independence when I was in high school, but I can’t remember whether or not I’ve seen the Constitution so it would be nice to visit it some time. Tonight we decided to learn a little more about our government’s backbone.