September 14, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Celebrates Constitution Day with Ceremonial Signing

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will observe Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 16.

All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to visit Odum Library between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and sign a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America. The ceremonial signing will be held at the Reference Desk on the second floor of the library, and all participants will receive a pocket Constitution, candy, and a special Founding Father surprise.

Emily Rogers, reference librarian and associate professor, said the purpose of this event is to promote awareness and understanding of the Constitution and of Constitution Day.

“On Sept. 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history — the United States Constitution,” according to the National Constitution Center. “This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that ‘We the People’ enjoy today.”

U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, a democrat from West Virginia, designated Sept. 17 as a day to recognize all who have become citizens, either by birth or naturalization, and to learn more about the formation of the nation’s founding document. Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004.

“Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world,” Byrd reportedly once said.

In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution.

VSU will continue its celebration of Constitution Day with an exhibit of books, government documents, and media about the Constitution and its interpretation. These items are located in the reference area of the library and will remain on display throughout the month of September.

Contact Emily C. Rogers at (229) 245-3748 or to learn more.

On the Web:

Constitution Fast Facts

• The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independent Hall, the building still stands today on Independent Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center. 

• Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on Sept. 17. But it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states. 

• The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries. 

• Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were very troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first 10 amendments became known as the Bill of Rights. 

• Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and three dissented. Two of America’s “founding fathers” didn’t sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France, and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain. 

• Established on Nov. 26, 1789, the first national “Thanksgiving Day” was originally created by George Washington as a way of “giving thanks” for the Constitution. 

• Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest. 

• At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest. 

• The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping. 

• More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty-three have gone to the states to be ratified, and 27 have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution.

Source: National Constitution Center