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East Aldine celebrates Constitution and New Citizens on Sept. 17

Constitution Day & Citizenship Day to get big local recognition

ALDINE – The East Aldine Management District and many partners will celebrate the anniversary of Constitution Day and National Citizenship Day in a new way next Saturday. A patriotic parade on Saturday, Sept. 17 — the 70th anniversary of the “days” — will move from MacArthur High School to the East Aldine Town Center’s amphitheater, where about 300 newly sworn-in U.S. citizens will be honored.

The event, sponsored by the non-profit Bonding Against Adversity and others, is being billed as the “We The People Celebration” featuring music, stories, games, and voter registration.

Bonding Against Adversity’s programs include classes on how foreign-born residents of the area can become U.S. citizens.

Other sponsors are Univision 45, the New Americans Campaign, and Lone Star College-East Aldine. Parking will be available at the college, and participants are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to view the event in comfort.

Similar ceremonies will be held across the nation as new citizens take their oath of allegiance to their new home country.

Last year, 855,00 immigrants became U.S. citizens. Through June 15 of this year, 661,500 immigrants became U.S. citizens, according to the federal government.

The East Aldine event will include the parade, a choir concert, a color guard, and musical performances and poem recitations by students from Aldine ISD.

There also will be contests to test the knowledge of Aldine ISD students about the U, S, Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Sept. 17 has been recognized as Constitution Day and National Citizenship Day since 1952.

Constitution Day marks the day that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time: Sept. 17, 1787. That’s when the 39 delegates signed the final document. It has long been also recognized as National Citizenship Day since seven of the Founding Fathers were immigrants from the British Isles.

There had been efforts before 1952 to recognize a national citizenship day. Media mogul William Randolph Hearst began a campaign for such a celebration in 1939. Later, Hearst had become so enamored with his idea that he produced a 16-minute movie, “I am An American,” which became a huge hit with American audiences.

Hearst, the grandson of immigrants of Scotch-Irish descent, advocated that “I am an American Day” be celebrated on the third Sunday of May. In 1940, Congress approved his idea, which was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

However, an Ohio woman who was often described as “a mother and homemaker,” Olga T. Weber, became so concerned that Americans were not aware and appreciative of their history that she began printing and distributing copies of the Constitution to schools and churches in Louisville, Ohio. She advocated that Constitution Day and Citizenship Day be moved to Sept. 17.

The Ohio Legislature approved her idea, which led the U.S. Congress to approve the 1952 resolution signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The little town of Louisville still celebrates Weber’s idea with a Constitution Week festival that includes car shows, hot air balloon rides, choir concerts, a beauty pageant and a parade.

— by Anne Marie Kilday