The United States of America has come a long way in healing from September 11, 2001. We are forever changed. We celebrate September 14th as Patriot Day, the national day of remembrance proclaimed by President Bush in 2002 to observe and honor the memory of those killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Patriot Day is observed by people of all races, religions, ages, and genders, because September 11th was a day that impacted the lives of all Americans. While many holidays are grounded in a group’s religious beliefs or familial status, Patriot Day is not limited to any criteria other than being a person living in or from the United States of America. Therefore, born out of tragedy, Patriot Day is one of the most equitable and inclusive holidays on the calendar. On September 14th, you can find the largest and most diverse group of people honoring those we lost on September 11th at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The men and women who worked day and night to recover and triage the victims of the tragedy are equally patriots and should also be honored on Patriot Day.
A few days after Patriot Day, on September 17th, we celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day, when we honor the document that guarantees to all Americans their essential rights. Though this document has been amended 27 times, with the last amendment being ratified in 1992, the purpose of the amendments has always been centered on the principles of establishing the framework for a democratic government.
However, it is the Bill of Rights that most people tend to focus on more frequently in daily conversation. The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution and defines citizens’ and states’ rights in relation to the government. Although ratified in 1791, the Bill of Rights contains most of the freedoms that Americans still value today.
Constitution and Citizenship Day has been incorporated into the curriculum of some schools. On this day, schools partner with federal courts and law firms to participate in programs to learn more about our nation’s history, the rule of law, the separation of powers, the court system, and civic engagement.
So what is the difference between the July 4th holiday and Constitution and Citizenship Day? While we celebrate July 4th as the date that the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, we celebrate the day that the Constitution was actually signed, on September 17th which is recognized as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
These holidays and others are important and represent the citizens of our great country and the states. The holidays we celebrate in September are worthy of recognition.