Constitution Day and Citizenship Day - September 17
by Yahnia Rodriguez
Constitution Day is celebrated annually on the 17th of September to commemorate the formation and signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787. The Constitution details the organization of our government and the relationship between the federal government and its people. The original copy of the Constitution is housed in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. where it has been on display since 1952.
Some interesting facts about the Constitution:
- Benjamin Franklin, representing the state of Pennsylvania, was the oldest person to sign the Constitution at age 81. He passed away nearly 3 years later and his funeral constituted the largest public gathering up to that time with a total of 20,000 mourners.
- The word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution.
- Four of the 42 delegates who signed the Constitution were born in Ireland.
- Rhode Island was the only state not to send delegates to Philadelphia in 1787 and it was also the last state to ratify the Constitution more than a year (May 29, 1790) after President George Washington’s inauguration.
- President Washington and Congress established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 226, 1789 “to give thanks for the new Constitution”.
Citizenship Day is also celebrated on September 17th – a day to also celebrate being a citizen of the United States. It is a day to be proud to be an American and to appreciate the rights, freedoms and privileges afforded to us as citizens of this great nation. President Harry Truman signed the bill establishing Citizenship Day on February 29, 1952.
Some interesting facts about Citizenship Day:
- Many federal government officials including the President participate in Naturalization ceremonies on this day
- In 2010, over 619,000 people were naturalized. Of those, 41% were born in Asia followed by 26% born in North America and 13% from Europe.
- Of those who became citizens in 2010, 21% resided in California followed by 11% in New York and 11% in Florida.
- The all-time high number of persons naturalizing in the US was slightly over one million in 2008.
Office of Immigration Statistics