As the calendar rolls over to June, most Americans who consider themselves patriots know it’s time to celebrate Flag Day on June 14.
Traditionally, people fly the Stars and Stripes outside their home and in parades. Federally, it has been a day of patriotic celebration since 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation.
It occurs between two of the biggest patriotic and solemn days in U.S. history: Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The order of the day are parades, barbecues, and afternoons at the beach.
But did you know there is a day in September that marks an important tenet of American democracy? It’s called Citizenship Day — formerly Constitution Day — and is marked on Sept. 17. That date was chosen because it commemorates the same date in 1787 the U.S. Constitution was signed.
According to ConstitutionFacts.com, newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst lobbied in 1939 to create a day to celebrate American citizenship. With his political connections, his work paid off. Congress designated the third Sunday in May as “I am an American Day.”
Some 13 years later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a resolution changing the date to Sept. 17 to correspond with the Constitution’s signing.
The immigration crisis facing the country right now makes American citizenship and the arduous process to successfully become a legal resident all the more important. As tens of thousands of asylum seekers cross the Mexican border, states in the middle of all that — and others throughout the country — are trying to figure out how to house and feed them.
The immigrants come from many troubled Central American countries taking a long journey to reach the borders of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and other southern states. But since Congress and the president have struggled to build an efficient system to process those seeking asylum to become U.S. residents, they have been shipped like cattle.
Most of them have brought their families and have searched for work to house and feed themselves. For the most part, they are not criminals and are just trying to win the “lottery” of American citizenship. They know how long that process can take, from green card to naturalized citizen.
In fact, to become citizens, they have to learn English and pass the mandatory citizenship test. By the way, many Americans born here would probably have trouble passing that test.
With that said, we thought it would be an act of citizenship education to include a list of 10 questions prospective American citizens must answer correctly. It might not be a bad idea for many Americans to take the test as well.
• What is the supreme law of the land?
• What does the Constitution do?
• The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
• What is an amendment?
• What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
• What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
• How many amendments does the Constitution have?
• What did the Declaration of Independence do?
• What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
• Why do some states have more representatives than other states?
You can read the answers right here next week.