Richard Nixon photo

Proclamation 3911—Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1969

May 13, 1969

By the President of the United States Of America

A Proclamation

The Constitution of the United States is often viewed as a revered document drawn in a far-off time by a group of exceedingly wise men we call the Founding Fathers. It is much more than that. The Constitution is a living set of principles, created during a hot Philadelphia summer in 1787 by men who were often passionate in their convictions and always jealous of the basic rights which had been secured by the American Revolution. This Constitution is not a museum-piece, but something as strong and as proud and as passionately alive today as were the men who created it almost 200 years ago.

As the foundation of our national life, the Constitution demands more than reverence. It demands the kind of active concern we show to anything we deeply care for. It demands our attention, our understanding of its character and of its fundamental place in our lives. This view of the Constitution will not allow us to pay honor to the idea unless we pay attention to the reality. It calls upon a citizen to not only be able to demand his rights, but also to know what they are.

United States citizenship, then, is also demanding. But the demands are more than matched by the benefits. Each citizen can help himself, his fellow citizens, and his nation if he takes some time out of his life to read and talk and think about the Constitution.

By a joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (66 Stat. 9), the Congress set aside the seventeenth day of September of each year as Citizenship Day, in commemoration of the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and in recognition of all who attained citizenship during the year. And by a joint resolution of August 2, 1956 (70 Stat. 932), the Congress requested the President to designate the period beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as Constitution Week.

Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, direct the appropriate Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Citizenship Day, September, 17, 1969. I urge Federal, State, and local officials, as well as all religious, civic, educational, and other interested organizations to make arrangements for impressive, meaningful pageants and observations on that day to inspire all our citizens to rededicate themselves to the service of their country and to the support and defense of the Constitution.

I also designate the period beginning September 17 and ending September 23, 1969, as Constitution Week; and I urge the people of the United States to observe that week with appropriate ceremonies and activities in their schools and churches, and in other suitable places, to the end that our citizens, whether naturalized or natural-born, may have a better understanding of the Constitution and of the rights and responsibilities of United States citizenship.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 13th day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-third.

Signature of Richard Nixon


Richard Nixon, Proclamation 3911—Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1969 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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