Constitution Day is one of the most significant holidays in the United States of America, and yet it goes uncelebrated by many Americans each year. This might be because it is not recognized by paid time off work or by a large local or national firework celebration. But if it’s such an important holiday, why don’t Americans celebrate it?
What Is Constitution Day?
Constitution Day occurs on September 17 each year, and it’s meant to celebrate the historic day in 1787 when the United States Constitution—the most influential document in American history—was signed by the Founding Fathers. The day the Constitution was signed plays a significant role in United States history and global history. Although the National Constitution Center offers free museum tours and online history classes to learn about the U.S. Constitution and celebrate the occasion, not much else is done to celebrate this globally historic day.
Why Is Constitution Day Important?
Constitution Day isn’t just important for Americans; its impact has been felt globally. In addition to becoming a new country that was completely independent from British rule, the United States of America also became a place of refuge for those seeking religious freedom, escaping famine and socioeconomic distress, and searching for the opportunity to own land of their own.
The United States became a melting pot of culture as more people immigrated to this new country. Today, the U.S. has become one of the largest global influencers and is defined in part by its lack of cultural independence. Americans’ food, traditions, and day-to-day lives are heavily influenced by the many cultures and people residing in the country.
How Does Constitution Day Affect My Family History?
The official signing of the Constitution marks the day that the United States became a unified and unique country. Since the Constitution’s signing in 1787, the government has diligently collected census records, immigration papers, property deeds, and more. All these documents are helpful in finding our ancestors and tracing the course of their lives.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate Constitution Day is by searching these historical records and learning more about the lives of those who have preceded us or who lived in the early days of the United States. We can trace our relatives online to the date they may have immigrated to the U.S., and then we can track how their lives progressed there over time. Did they purchase land, trek out west, or return to the land from whence they came? Did they help build the railroad or own a farm, or did they receive an education? Did they obtain their citizenship? How many children did they have, and were all of those children born in the U.S.?
Answering these questions can help us come closer to our heritage and allows us a unique look into living through the early days of a new country. As most countries are significantly older than the United States, examining the U.S.’s history and genealogical documents gives us a special glimpse at the issues the new country faced and how that affected the lives of the people who lived there.
We can celebrate Constitution Day from around the world as we look for ancestors who immigrated to the United States, created new lives for themselves, and did their best to chase the “American dream.”