Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 2002
September 16, 2002
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our
Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of
With these words, written more than 200 years ago, our Forefathers laid the
foundations for a great Nation, adopting a Constitution that has since proven
to be an enduring and true guide for American government. The Constitution's
powerful framework for establishing and preserving liberty, justice, and opportunity
has enabled us to prosper as a Nation and thrive as a people through more than
two centuries of political change, social transformation, and economic challenge.
The Founders secured the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence
by establishing a government that derives its power from the consent of the
American people. The government established by the Constitution formed a remarkably
resilient structure, balancing necessary authority with inherent freedoms, national
unity with individual rights, and Federal interests with State powers. In setting
this foundation, the Founders also recognized the potential for necessary change.
They included a constitutional amendment process, which has proven to be a vitally
important mechanism for achieving equality and fairness for all our citizens.
Our Constitution is sustained by Americans who daily defend the principles of
democracy and freedom. We understand that with great privileges come great responsibilities.
Citizenship not only involves a commitment to our Nation but also to our neighbors
and those in need. Over the past year, we have seen many outstanding examples
of selfless sacrifice, courageous compassion, and true generosity. We remain
committed to building a culture of service and responsibility that inspires
citizens to reach out to the needy, take leadership in improving our communities,
and participate fully in our democratic process.
Today, the United States stands as a beacon of democracy and tolerance, inviting
the nations of the world to pursue justice, provide freedom, and protect liberty
for their people. As we face the challenges of a new era, we remain resolved
and vigilant in the defense of life and liberty against tyranny and terror.
Drawing strength and guidance from our Constitution, we will work to ensure
that the blessings of American liberty endure and extend for generations to
In remembrance of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition of the
Americans who strive to uphold the duties and responsibilities of citizenship,
the Congress, by joint
resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106, as amended), designated September
17 as "Citizenship Day," and by joint resolution of August 2, 1956
(36 U.S.C. 108, as amended), requested that the President proclaim the week
beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as "Constitution
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America,
do hereby proclaim September 17, 2002, as Citizenship Day and September 17 through
September 23, 2002, as Constitution Week. I encourage Federal, State, and local
officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations,
to conduct ceremonies and programs that celebrate our Constitution and reaffirm
our commitment as citizens of our great Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of September,
in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United
States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.