Citizenship Day, also known as Constitution Day, is a federal holiday in the U.S. and is observed on September 17th. On this day in 1787, the adoption of the United States Constitution was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. This event commemorates also all the people who are taking steps to become U.S. citizens and those who become citizens by coming of age or by naturalization.
The origins of this celebration goes back to 1940 when the day was called “I am an American Day” and celebrated on the third Sunday in May each year. Later the day was renamed Citizenship Day and moved to September 17th by the Congress.
The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day.” In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind. This holiday is not observed by granting time off work for federal employees.
When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday. Universities and colleges nationwide have created “U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Weeks” in order to meet the requirements of the law. (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)
On this day in 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England. It carried pilgrims to the New World to escape religious persecution.
On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, Washington, D.C., wrote the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by a British Prisoner Exchange Agent, dined aboard a British ship as guests. They were there to negotiate the release of prisoners but were not allowed to return to their own sloop because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. Thus, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13-14, 1814.
At dawn, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. Back in Baltimore and inspired, Key wrote a poem about his experience, which was soon published. A music publisher adapted it to the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular tune Key had already used as a setting for an earlier song.
Though somewhat difficult to sing, the song became increasingly popular, competing with “Hail, Columbia” (1796) as the de facto national anthem by the Mexican-American War and American Civil War. More than a century after its first publication, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play what became known as the “Service Version”) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover. (from Wikipedia)
New York City became the capital of the United States on this date in 1788. Of course, the capital is now Washington, D.C.