September 17th is Constitution and Citizenship Day, and we the people, as citizens of a more perfect Union, cherish the rights we are constitutionally granted. We practice our freedom of speech, enjoy the mediaâ€™s right to criticize the government without penalty, and even reserve the right to have a trial by jury. This annual holiday celebrates these constitutional privileges we often neglect to appreciate. This date in 1787 not only celebrates the creation of the Constitution, but also our citizenship in a democratic nation.
Our Founding Fathers gathered in 1787 in Philadelphia to create a new government, rather than simply change the current one.Âą Some of these Founding Fathers include names that might be familiar to you – George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.Â˛ They formed three branches of government – the legislative, executive, and judicial branches – which established a system of checks and balances to ensure that one branch didnâ€™t become too powerful. For instance, the President (the executive branch) cannot order laws to be put in place. The law may be written by that branch, but either a senator or representative in Congress (the legislative branch) must introduce it. If that branch passes it, then the Supreme Court (the judicial branch) must make sure it is legal. All three branches must pass the law before it is put into effect.
The constitution has undergone many changes since its first draft, as has the name of this holiday. In 1940, Congress coined this day as â€śI Am an American Day,â€ť but President Harry Truman changed it to Citizenship Day in 1952. And as of 2004, Senator Robert Byrd altered the name to both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.Âł
We live in a multicultural country, with individuals moving here from all over the world to fulfill the American Dream. Some are even in the process of becoming naturalized citizens. According to Constitution.org, with legal papers, one is afforded the majority of the rights that citizens hold, minus the ability to vote and serve on jury duty, among others. Thus, if youâ€™re not able to commemorate your citizenship, you can still celebrate the creation of the constitution, for it allows you to practice your constitutional rights while residing in this country.
There are many activities you can partake in to celebrate this day of observance. You can gloss over the Constitution and read your Bill of Rights, raise a flag in your home, or even wear patriotic colors. Â Other actions you can take to celebrate your membership in our democracy include writing to your representative, protecting our country, and actively participating in the legal system. You can be an instrument of change and a model for leadership in your community.
No matter how you celebrate, you can look at a list of the Constitutionâ€™s 27 amendments and see how many freedoms you enjoy every day!
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