September 17th of every year is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, which is observed to commemorate the ratification and signing of the US Constitution on September 17, 1787. Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government. Its first three words –– “We the People” –– affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers wisely separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments. Since 1789, the Constitution has evolved through amendments to meet the changing needs of a nation now profoundly different from the eighteenth-century world in which its creators lived. The days is also meant to recognize all the people who are born in the US and have become US citizens by naturalization.
To encourage all Americans to learn more about the Constitution, Congress in 1956 established Constitution Week, to begin each year on September 17th, the date in 1787 when delegates to the convention signed the Constitution. In 2004, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia included key provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005 designating September 17th of each year as Constitution Day and requiring public schools and governmental offices to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding of the Constitution.
When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or another holiday, schools and other institutions observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday. This was the case in 2005 and 2011 when Constitution Day was generally observed on Friday, September 16, and in 2006 when the holiday was observed on Monday, September 18.