The Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787. September 17 is now celebrated each year as Constitution Day. The idea for the day began with Louise Leigh, a senior citizen from California. After Leigh took a class on the Constitution, she wanted more Americans to learn about it and celebrate it. In 1997, she began encouraging people to take part in a yearly celebration of the Constitution on September 17.
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia agreed that there should be a special day to celebrate the Constitution. In 2004, he pushed for Congress to pass a law that would officially declare September 17 as Constitution Day. The law was passed, and President George W. Bush signed it in December 2004. Today, on September 17, all schools that receive money from the federal government are required to teach the United States Constitution.
Each year on Constitution Day, many Americans gather in public meeting places to recite the Preamble, the first part of the Constitution. The Preamble outlines the principles of the Constitution, such as freedom and justice. People across the country recite the Preamble at the same time. Afterward, bells are rung to celebrate the signing of the Constitution.