Proclamation 5367 -- Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1985

September 16, 1985

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

In this, the commencement year of the 100th anniversary renovation of the Statue of Liberty, Americans are called on to renew and deepen their appreciation of the unique and precious heritage passed on to us by our Founding Fathers. This heritage finds its most sustained and formal expression in the United States Constitution. It is truly a marvel that a group of people assembled from a small population could develop a document capable of guiding the course of this Nation through nearly 200 years of growth to become the greatest on earth. The wisdom and foresight of the architects of the Constitution is manifest in the fact that this dynamic document has required so few amendments over the 198 years of its existence, and has remained a powerful governing tool throughout.

The kind of society our Constitution has created -- free and fair and reformable -- helps to explain the desire of many foreign nationals to become United States citizens. Last year, over a quarter of a million people, more than ever before in a single year, took the oath of United States citizenship. Clearly the fire of liberty enshrined in the Constitution is not only a hearth to warm, it remains a beacon that draws people from every continent.

How grateful to God all Americans should be that our Constitution remains as Judge David Davis observed more than a century ago: ``A law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.''

In recognition of the importance of our Constitution and the role of our citizenry in shaping our government, the Congress, by Joint Resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 153), designated September 17 of each year as Citizenship Day and authorized the President to issue annually a proclamation calling upon officials of the government to display the flag on all government buildings on that day. The Congress, by Joint Resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 159), also requested the President to proclaim the period beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as Constitution Week.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, call upon appropriate government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Citizenship Day, September 17, 1985. I urge Federal, State and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, educational, and religious organizations, to conduct appropriate ceremonies and programs that day to commemorate the occasion.

I also proclaim the period beginning September 17 and ending September 23, 1985, as Constitution Week, and I urge all Americans to observe that week with fitting ceremonies and activities in their schools, churches, and other suitable places.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and tenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:59 a.m., September 17, 1985]