Today is Constitution Day, the day we commemorate the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787. Since 2004, September 17 has also been the celebration of Citizenship Day, which “recognize[s] all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.” In fact, when Senator Robert Bryd shepherded the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 108-447) into law, he added additional requirements to encourage citizens to learn more about their Constitution. Now the head of every federal agency must provide each employee with educational and training materials concerning the Constitution on September 17 and any educational institution which receives Federal funds shall hold a program on the U.S. Constitution for students on this day.
Beyond reading the Constitution, you may wish to celebrate more thoroughly by studying the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. This work, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, provides an annotated analysis of the Constitution and its amendments with cases decided by the Supreme Court which “bear significantly upon the analysis and interpretation of the Constitution.”
For those who could use a refresher on the history of the Constitution, try this quiz from the Washington Post. A great supply of cocktail party-ready facts and anecdotes about the Constitution can be found at the National Archives, and you can embrace your inner Madison or Hamilton with this quiz to determine which founding father you most resemble (ideologically, that is).
No matter how you celebrate, today is a great day to reflect on the rights and freedoms guaranteed to the nation’s citizens by the Constitution. Take time today to consider both on the past struggles to achieve these liberties, and the enduring work needed from current and future generations to preserve them.