On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine men from twelve of the original thirteen states signed one of American’s most important foundation documents, the Constitution of the United States. In 2004, United States Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia spearheaded legislation to set aside every September 17 as “Constitution Day.” Senator Byrd’s legislation stipulates that each educational institution that receives federal funds should hold a program for students on or near September 17 to commemorate Constitution Day.
Why do we celebrate Constitution Day? The United States Constitution created our federal system of governance, with power separated among three branches: the legislative branch, which makes the laws; the executive branch that enforces the laws; and the judicial branch that interprets the laws. By design, each branch of the federal government is subject to checks and balances from the other two branches. The United States Constitution also safeguards personal liberties with a Bill of Rights–the first ten changes or amendments to the Constitution.
Each year on Constitution Day, Southeastern Community College celebrates American’s foundation story by commemorating what is now the world’s oldest and longest-lived national constitution!