Church bells will ring Thursday afternoon in Larned, in observation of Constitution Day. This holiday commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.
It is a patriotic holiday that is worth observing. The Fourth of July celebrates our Declaration of Independence in 1776, but the work of creating a lasting blueprint for our government came when the 39 delegates of the Constitutional Convention wrote this document. It would take two more years for Congress to pass the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to our Constitution.
After Constitution signer Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, Mrs. Elizabeth Powel of Philadelphia is said to have asked him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin answered.
The U.S. Census Bureau, which is wrapping up the 2020 Census, reminds us that Article I, Section II of the Constitution calls for an “actual Enumeration” to be “made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The first “Enumeration” took place in 1790 and has been conducted every 10 years since. (Anyone who hasn’t yet responded to the 2020 Census should do so soon. Visit the website 2020Census.gov.)
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary notes that Thursday, Sept. 17, is also Citizenship Day:
“In 1940, Congress designated the third Sunday in May as ‘I am an American Day.’ In 1944, ‘I am an American Day’ was promoted by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. On February 29, 1952, Congress moved ‘I am an American Day’ observation to September 17 and renamed it ‘Citizenship Day.’ In 2004, Congress renamed the holiday ‘Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.’”
It’s not too late to celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day, and we might add that Sept. 18, being the third Friday of September, is POW/MIA Recognition Day. This day recognizes our nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. This Friday is one of the six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military institutions.
September is filled with patriotic days, from Labor Day (Sept. 7) to Patriot Day on Sept. 11 to Gold Star Mother’s/Family’s Day on the last Sunday in September (Sept. 27 this year). The American Legion and the U.S. Air Force also celebrate their birthdays in September.
One way to show your patriotism this year is by voting. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3 – less than seven weeks away. Voter registration closes at the end of the business day on Tuesday, Oct. 13.