Constitution Day on Campus beset by confused celebrants of “Declaration of Independence Day”

AJ Lawrence, Senior Writer

The other weekend was Bucknell’s Family Weekend, but the influx of relatives on campus wasn’t the only cause for celebration. It was also Constitution Day, the federal holiday celebrating the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. But as students around campus decorated their Supers and prepped their grills, many were wondering, didn’t we already celebrate this a couple months ago? The answer: no!

Many confuse Constitution Day with Declaration of Independence Day, more traditionally known as Independence day. That is celebrated on July 4, a completely different month, and is a day filled with parades, barbecues, backyard games and extravagant firework shows. Constitution Day is specifically about the Constitution. Never fear, people can still have their picnics and potlucks.

No need to take down your American Flag decorations because it is still a holiday celebrating the United States, so all the normal American celebration traditions are valid. But in the future, you might want to check your signs and Instagram posts so people aren’t confused about which holiday you’re celebrating.

Many Americans don’t normally celebrate Constitution Day, but that’s because people are never sure what it’s about. So this past weekend, the Bucknell Political Science Department decided to host a presentation on the Constitution, its history and importance in the ELC Forum. After a wonderful rendition of “The National Anthem” by Amelia Maurice ’24, Political Science Professor Earnest stepped up to the podium to start his speech.

After introducing himself, the Professor started to read an excerpt from the document of discussion, saying, “In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by-.” But they were quickly cut off by an associate who ran up to them. 

It turns out that Professor Earnest started to read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, not the U.S. Constitution, proving just how hard it is to remember what’s in each. The audience didn’t seem to notice the mistake, but were confused when the Professor suddenly announced that they would be playing the traditional Flag Day song “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

It was meant to be played later in the presentation for a bit of fun, but it worked just as well as a distraction while Professor Earnest used one of the printed The Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States pocket booklets the school had ordered to re-plan his presentation. 

After his little stumble, the Professor picked his speech back up by reading the opening of the actual Constitution. He then explained the purpose of the Constitution a bit more in depth, why it was created and how difficult it was for all the states to agree to it. Professor Earnest’s original plan was to read the entire Constitution, but after realizing how long and boring that would be, he opted to read all 27 Amendments, highlighting how far the United States has come since its conception. How far it has come indeed.

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