Celebrate 225 Years Of The Constitution At The National Constitution Center

Aug 30, 2012, 12:44 ET from National Constitution Center

Historic anniversary celebration in September to include:

Sept.10-23: Constitution Hall Pass program for students across the nation

Sept. 13: Liberty Medal Ceremony honoring Muhammad Ali

Sept. 16-23: Exciting lineup of Constitution Week events for all ages

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since its signing on September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution remains an enduring, relevant document that inspires the world.  As headquarters of the Constitution's landmark 225th anniversary, the National Constitution Center will conclude its lineup of celebratory events in September with a star-studded Liberty Medal ceremony and an array of festivities that honor the Constitution's legacy of freedom.

"The 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution offers a perfect opportunity to celebrate freedom and active citizenship," said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner.  "It is especially powerful to remember and celebrate our founding values in this important election year."

Throughout 2012, the National Constitution Center has served as the national headquarters for this historic milestone in our country's history.  The celebration began in January with a call to all Americans to reaffirm their commitment to freedom by becoming a signer of the Constitution via a special electronic version of the document at www.constitutioncenter.org/i-signed.  Additionally, the Center has been working with governors and leaders from each state and territory to obtain proclamations calling upon citizens to celebrate Constitution Week.  The proclamations are on view inside the Center's main exhibition, The Story of We the People.

The September festivities will include:

2012 Liberty Medal Ceremony
The star-studded 2012 Liberty Medal Ceremony will recognize Muhammad Ali as a champion of freedom on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.  Ali has long served as an icon of constitutional ideals and the realization of the American dream – all the while challenging and expanding the very definition of "We the People."  Established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Medal honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.  Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela, Shimon Peres, Kofi Annan, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and Bono.  Participants in this year's event include ABC News' David Muir, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard.

National Conference on Citizenship
On Friday, September 14, 2012, the Center will host the 67th Annual National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) from 1:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.  The event brings together civic leaders, educators, CEOs, and representatives from each branch of government to address issues related to our nation's civic health.  This year's conference theme is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Exploring the link between civic engagement and employment."  Among the highlights: the unveiling of new research and programs that explore the role of civic engagement in creating thriving communities, including announcement of the Civic Data Challenge winners. Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha will receive the inaugural "Role Model of the Year" award, which recognizes individuals who use their public presence to give back to the community.  The conference will be streamed live from 1:00 p.m.5:30 p.m. EDT at NCoC.net/live.

Constitution Week Events
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the Center kicks off its Constitution Week celebration with a fun Family Fair from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the front lawn.  This daylong outdoor event features the Center's hit educational programs, musical performances, colonial-era games, historic interpreters, and more.  Participating partners include the National Park Service and Historic Philadelphia, Inc.  At 1:00 p.m., the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) will gather at the Liberty Bell to begin a festive parade to the National Constitution Center.  Beginning at 2:15 p.m., SAR will host additional events on the Center's Grand Hall Overlook, including a special sworn-again ceremony during which participants will renew their civic vows and recommit to being actively engaged citizens.  The ceremony will be led by author, educator, and civic entrepreneur Eric Liu, founder of the Guiding Lights Network and co-author of The Gardens of Democracy

Also on September 15, the winners of the "We the People 9.17" contest, hosted by Constituting America, will be honored in a ceremony in the Center's F.M. Kirby Auditorium beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Actress Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie, co-chairs of Constituting America, will award scholarships and prizes to students from across the country who submitted essays, short films, public service announcements, and original songs on the U.S. Constitution. 

Throughout the weekend, the Center will feature the winning entries in the Grand Hall Lobby and the Grand Hall Overlook.  To learn more, visit constitutingamerica.org.

From Sunday, September 16 through Sunday, September 23, visitors can join in a variety of hands-on activities throughout the day in the Grand Hall Lobby.  Guests can visit the Center's old-fashioned print shop, complete with a replica printing press from the 1700s, to print a copy of the Preamble in the same way Claypool and Dunlap did when they printed the Constitution.  They also can join in calligraphy demonstrations and learn about the Copperplate technique used to pen the official, handwritten Constitution.  Then, using their newly acquired calligraphy skills, visitors can sign a giant version of the U.S. Constitution, adding their signatures next to those of our Founding Fathers.  The Center also invites visitors to sign a special commemorative 225th anniversary Constitution on display in Signers' Hall

Partner institutions throughout Historic Philadelphia, including Christ Church and Christ Church Burial Ground, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Historic Philadelphia Center, Independence Seaport Museum, and Powell House, also will display giant Constitutions for visitors to sign throughout the week. 

In addition, during special, interactive programs, guests can put their knowledge of the Constitution to the test with the fast-paced "Bill of Rights" game show and the high-energy "Separation of Powers" show, which teaches students about the three branches of government.

The Center's celebration reaches a crescendo on Monday, September 17 – Constitution Day. ADMISSION TO THE CENTER IS FREE ON CONSTITUTION DAY!

PwC is the presenting sponsor of the Center's Constitution Day activities, educational materials, and free admission to the public.

"We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 225th anniversary celebration.  As part of PwC's Corporate Responsibility strategy, we are making an investment to support a variety of youth education initiatives including those at the National Constitution Center.  Like the creators of the Constitution, our partners and employees strive to be leaders for transformational change in the communities where we live and serve clients," said Ed Lovelidge, PwC Market Managing Partner.

To commence the Center's Constitution Day festivities, 225 students will present a rousing reading of the Preamble to the Constitution at 8:45 a.m. on the Center's front lawn.  Merry Ann Wright, president general of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will gift the Center with a special Constitution Flag commemorating the document's 225th anniversary.  The flag is a replica of the one used during a parade in Philadelphia on July 4, 1788, to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution.  Also on hand, P. Edward Lovelidge, Philadelphia Market Managing Partner of PwC will present the Center with a check in the amount of $95,000.

Christopher Phillips, author of Constitution Cafe and the bestseller Socrates Cafe, will lead a roundtable discussion at 9:30 a.m. on the Center's Grand Hall Overlook with local high school students, exploring what they would include in the Constitution if they were rewriting the document today.

At 10:00 a.m., beloved former First Lady and outspoken women's rights advocate Betty Ford will be added to the American National Tree, a popular exhibit inside The Story of We the People that tells the stories of 100 Americans whose actions have shaped our constitutional history.  The National Constitution Center, in collaboration with Scholastic, Inc. and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, selected 15-year-old Carter Jimenez Jenkins, a high school sophomore at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California as the winner of the 2012 M.R. Robinson National Constitution Center American National Tree Award.  Jimenez Jenkins will receive a $1,000 scholarship and his winning essay on Betty Ford will be added to the American National Tree.  He and his family also will attend the induction ceremony, along with Rebecca L. Rutherfurd, Senior Manager, National Programs, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

At 10:30 a.m., a public Naturalization Ceremony will take place in the Center's F.M. Kirby Auditorium, during which 50 immigrants from across the globe will take the Oath of Citizenship to officially become citizens of the United States. The Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe, District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will administer the oath and preside over the moving ceremony.

Guests can enjoy a slice of cake during a patriotic Anniversary Party at 12:15 p.m. on the Center's Grand Hall Overlook.  The party will include appearances by Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as P. Edward Lovelidge, Philadelphia Market Managing Partner of PwC, and Rocco Fiorentino, 15-year-old blind singer and advocate from Voorhees, NJ, who will lead the crowd in a stirring rendition of "God Bless America." 

In addition, visitors are encouraged to participate in a program in the F.M. Kirby Auditorium at 2:00 p.m.: "Is Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law Constitutional?"  During this timely event, a distinguished panel of experts will discuss the constitutionality and consequences of this controversial law, which requires all voters to show a government-approved form of identification at the polls.

The Center's Constitution Day celebration also will extend outside of the building, with an incredible 15-foot live floral art "pop up" by Schaffer Designs – three-time "Best in Show" winners at the Philadelphia International Flower Show.  Inspired by the Constitution's 225th anniversary, this super-sized live sculptural "bouquet" will adorn the Center's front lawn for all to see and will incorporate patriotic "stars" submitted by top floral designers from coast to coast!   

The following organizations also will be onsite throughout the day to participate in a civics fair in the Center's lobby: American Center for Educators, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, American Institute for History Education (AIHE), Daughters of the American Revolution, Bill of Rights Institute, iCivics, Philadelphia Passport Agency, National Archives and Records Administration, American Institute for History Education, Citizenship Counts, James Madison's Montpelier, and the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Constitution Hall Pass
Millions of students across the country can join in the celebration and meet their Constitution Day education requirement by tuning in to the Center's popular free webcast series, Constitution Hall Pass, available starting September 10, 2012 at constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday.  Featuring a special introduction by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Constitution Hall Pass: The Presidency explores Article II of the Constitution, which defines the role and responsibilities of our nation's highest executive power – the President of the United States of America.  Experts from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association, along with members of the Center's education staff will be available to chat live with students and teachers from September 10 to September 14 and from September 17 to September 21 from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT

Additional Resources
The Center continues to serve as the nation's premier resource for education on the Constitution through its Constitution Day website at www.constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday.  This interactive site provides a variety of resources to help educators, students, community leaders, and government officials fulfill the national mandate sponsored by the late Senator Robert Byrd, requiring all schools receiving federal funding and all federal agencies to provide constitutional education on or around September 17.  The website includes educational tools and lesson plans, online versions of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' naturalization test, video clips of Constitution Day events at the Center, previous Constitution Hall Pass episodes, and the "Which Founder Are You?" quiz, which allows users to compare their personality traits with those of the men who wrote the Constitution.  

Additionally, educators can purchase the Center's Constitution Day Kit, which includes a 31" x 55" laminated copy of the Constitution, 35 folding pocket Constitutions, a Constitution Hall Pass DVD, the "To Sign or Not To Sign" lesson plan (differentiated for elementary, middle, and high school grade levels), and a dry erase marker for signing the Constitution.  The kit costs $35 and is available at www.constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday.

A handy interactive Constitution App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch also is available for download by visiting iTunes.    

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About the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is the first and only nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to the most powerful vision of freedom ever expressed: the U.S. Constitution.  Located on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia, the birthplace of American freedom, the Center illuminates constitutional ideals and inspires active citizenship through a state-of-the-art museum experience, including hundreds of interactive exhibits, films and rare artifacts; must-see feature exhibitions; the internationally acclaimed, 360-degree theatrical production Freedom Rising; and the iconic Signers' Hall, where visitors can sign the Constitution alongside 42 life-size, bronze statues of the Founding Fathers.  As America's forum for constitutional dialogue, the Center engages diverse, distinguished leaders of government, public policy, journalism and scholarship in timely public discussions and debates.  The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, the national hub for constitutional education, which offers cutting-edge civic learning resources both onsite and online.  Freedom is calling.  Answer it at the National Constitution Center.  For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit www.constitutioncenter.org

SOURCE National Constitution Center