December 13, 2017

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

Constitution Day constitutionwithflag
On Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, an event which falls during Constitution Week, many people in the United States recognize the anniversary of the nation’s constitution and the efforts and responsibilities of all citizens. With regard to the nation’s constitution, in the summer of 1787 delegates convened in Philadelphia to create “a more perfect union” and to craft the country’s constitution. They worked to develop a framework that would provide balance and freedom, taking into account federal and state interests, as well as individual human rights. The delegates signed the Constitution of the United States on September 17 that year. By June 21, 1788, the constitution was effective, having been approved by nine of the 13 states.

With regard to recognizing citizens, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst advocated a day to celebrate US Citizenship in 1939. In 1940 the Congress created “I Am an American Day” to be celebrated in the third Sunday in May. On February 29, 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law “Citizenship Day”. It was established to replace I am an American Day. On August 2, 1956, the Congress requested that the president proclaim the week beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as “Constitution Week”. One more change was made to the event when a federal law enacted in December 2004 designated September 17 as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day”.

When Constitution Day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or on another holiday, the day must be held on a weekday during the preceding or following week. This was the case in 2005, when Constitution Day was generally observed on Friday, September 16, and 2006 when the holiday was observed on Monday, September 18.

Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus

Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries in the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival and Discovery of America, which happened on October 12, 1492.

Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’s voyage since the colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals took themes such as citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.

Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866. Columbus Day was first enshrined as a legal holiday in the United States through the lobbying of Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian, in Denver. The first statewide Columbus Day holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905, and it was made a statutory holiday in 1907. In April 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus and New York City Italian leader Generoso Pope, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day.