Colorado Rights Blog

Caryn Osterman By: Caryn Osterman 9.17.2014

Happy Constitution Day!

Constitution Day is the one day a year when we take time to celebrate the signing of our Constitution — the supreme law of the United States — created by our Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787.

This monumental document bestows our rights and freedoms and provides the framework for our government — both federal and state — and the relationship between the two.  It incorporates pivotal concepts of separation of power and checks and balances to ensure that no one branch of government becomes too powerful over another.  It has been amended twenty-seven times since 1789 and continues to be interpreted and challenged 225 years later.  That’s something to celebrate!

Originally recognized as “I Am an American Day”, in 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a resolution to observe “Citizenship Day” on the actual day the Constitution was signed – September 17th.  Constitution Day became an official holiday alongside Citizenship Day in 2004 when legislation introduced by Senator Robert Byrd passed through Congress.  Since 2005, all schools receiving federal funds are mandated to teach about the Constitution on September 17th.

I can’t recall baking cupcakes for my children’s school’s Constitution Day party nor have I ever been invited to a Constitution Day barbeque.  So, how does one celebrate a holiday that doesn’t lend itself to balloons, streamers, and decorations?  We can make it a priority to teach and learn something new about this document and talk about it with our children, other family members, co-workers and friends.

Last year, ACLU of Colorado volunteers went into middle school, high school, and college classes to teach about the Constitution.  We will be doing the same this year but in addition, we would like to share with you resources on our website that you can use to learn and teach about the Constitution. You can take the ACLU of Colorado’s Constitution Word Search – a fun way to test your knowledge and learn some basic Constitutional facts.  Please also take a moment to sign our petition to President Obama to make Constitution Day an official federal holiday.

So, if you are a teacher, a parent, or a civic-minded citizen, please take a moment today to recognize and celebrate the Constitution and the rights and freedoms that it bestows.  We’ll keep fighting every day to ensure those rights are protected and extended to all people in Colorado.



  • Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley spoke at the marriage equality rally on March 3rd

  • Leisel Kemp, whose brother Jason was killed by CSP after they entered his home without a warrant, spoke at the 2013 Bill of Rights Dinner about the ACLU’s legal advocacy on behalf of her family.

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind is an original short film from the ACLU of Colorado about a man who has spent 17 years in solitary confinement and now suffers from debilitating mental illness.