On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history: the United States Constitution. This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that "We the People" enjoy today. The Constitution was signed by thirty-nine courageous men who changed the course of history. Every American shares in this legacy of liberty and has the responsibility as a citizen to respect and defend the values of our founding fathers as well as participate in the unfolding story of freedom.
In 1939 newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst advocated a day to celebrate US Citizenship. 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" replacing 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".
Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004, when the Congress passed a bill designating September 17 as the day for citizens to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and learn more about our founding document. The chief sponsor, Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat from West Virginia, once said, "Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world." He added the Constitution Day clause to his 2004 federal spending bill because he believed that all citizens should know about their rights as outlined in the Constitution. This clause mandates the teaching of the Constitution in schools that receive federal funds, as well as federal agencies.
DoDEA joins the nation in honoring our Founding Fathers. Share your celebrations on social media by including #WeThePeople and #ConstitutionDay in your posts!