Constitution Day: Celebrating America's History
Vice President's Residence

Vice President's Residence Constitution Day: Celebrating America's History will celebrate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 with a program and interactive learning workshop for 200 students from DC area schools. Designed to bring history to life and make learning fun, students will take part in Constitution-era educational activities and games with Lynne Cheney.

Laura Bush will join Mrs. Cheney as the "surprise guest" for students, offering her own message about the importance of studying American history. Grammy-award winning entertainer Lee Greenwood will perform the National Anthem and "God Bless the USA."

Who: The students - all second graders - are from J.O. Wilson Elementary, Garrison Elementary, and the Chamberlain and Woodridge campuses of Friendship Edison Public Charter Schools. Other important guests joining Mrs. Cheney include American founding fathers (actors) George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, John Adams, as well as other notable American historical figures Elizabeth Cady Stanton (actor) and Frederick Douglass and wife Anna (actual descendent of Frederick Douglass).

Why: To celebrate this date in history with students from the DC area, Mrs. Cheney invited second grade students from four DC schools to the Vice President's Residence. She will talk to them about the importance of knowing about America's founding fathers and documents, as well as about the inspirational figures who have since helped our nation live up to the ideals contained within the Constitution.

Results from the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress test in U.S. History showed that 33% of 4th graders performed below the "Basic" level, meaning they are unable to identify the most familiar people, events, ideas, and documents in American history. For students in 12th grade, performance on the test was worse, as 57% were unable to reach the "Basic" level of achievement expected.

Program: The program begins with remarks by Mrs. Cheney, the Pledge of Allegiance and a performance by Lee Greenwood. Students will then participate in four interactive workshops including learning about 18th century coins and making coin rubbings; creating tricorn hats like those worn in the 1700s; signing the U.S. Constitution; learning to fold the American flag; and playing Constitution-era games. The program concludes with remarks from Mrs. Bush.

History: Two hundred fifteen years ago on September 17, 1787, the final draft of the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although it would be almost a year before the Constitution was ratified by the required nine out of thirteen states (June 21, 1788), this date marks a milestone in our country's history. On this date, the core principles upon which this nation was built were laid out in a single document, a document which has become the oldest enduring written national constitution in the world.