Proclamation 5694 --
Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1987
August 13, 1987
the President of the United States of
year for more than three decades, we Americans have celebrated our
constitutional rights and responsibilities as citizens of the United States through the observance
of Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. In 1987 this traditional celebration
takes on special significance, as September 17 marks the 200th anniversary of
the signing of our Constitution.
anticipation of this occasion, the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United
States Constitution will conduct a special observance on September
entitled ``A Celebration of Citizenship.'' On this date, millions of students
will reflect upon the blessings of liberty bestowed by our Constitution.
Parents and adults can join them in paying tribute to the Framers of the
Constitution and in gratefully recalling the privileges and duties secured by
our Constitution. At , E.D.T., a national and
international radio and television broadcast will unite all Americans in a
recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The broadcast will include a reading of
the Preamble to our Constitution. It is my hope that all Americans will take
advantage of this opportunity to gain new insight into the precious principles
of our governing document.
principles have stood the tests of time and turmoil. In 1787, we were a Nation
of some four million people, living in 13 sovereign States, aligned along the
eastern seaboard. The States were ``united'' in name only, barely held together
by the Articles of Confederation, an agreement of mutual interest among the 13
original colonies drafted during the Revolutionary War. Once the common enemy
was defeated, the general confederation began to unravel. Many of the States
had their own army, printed their own currency, and charged tariffs to other
States for using their ports and roads.
convention was called in Philadelphia in May 1787 for the
sole purpose of making the Articles of Confederation ``adequate to the
exigencies of Government and preservation of the Union.'' Many of the Nation's
leaders feared that unless a stronger national government was created, the country would founder, leading to the formation
of independent republics or the reaccession of
foreign powers. Despite the long odds against success, the Framers were able,
through numerous compromises, to fashion a blueprint for a new Nation. In this
peaceful revolution, the States transformed their loose political alliance into
a Federal union under the first written national Constitution in history.
Today, 200 years later, that Constitution is the oldest written instrument of
democratic rule in the world still in use, and it continues to proclaim and to
shape a peaceful revolution toward freedom and prosperity for all mankind.
Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 153), designated
September 17 as ``Citizenship Day'' in commemoration of the signing of the
Constitution and in recognition of all who, by coming of age or by
naturalization, have attained the status of citizenship, 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. Also, by joint
resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 159), the Congress designated the week
beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as ``Constitution
Week'' in recognition of the historic importance of the Constitution and the
significant role it plays in our lives today.
Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim September
as Citizenship Day and call upon appropriate government officials to display
the flag of the United States on all government
buildings. I urge Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of
civic, educational, and religious organizations, to conduct ceremonies and
programs that day to commemorate the occasion.
I proclaim the week beginning September 17 and ending September
as Constitution Week, and I urge all Americans to observe that week with
appropriate ceremonies and activities in their schools, churches, and other
Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of August, in
the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of
America the two hundred and
[Filed with the Office
of the Federal Register, , August 14, 1987]