Today is "Constitution Day" in the United States. Starting in 1997, Constitution Day Inc. (founded by Louise Leigh) led the effort to have September 17th, the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, recognized and celebrated. Recommended activities include having "school children, the military overseas and Governors or their representatives from every state reciting the preamble simultaneously." In 2004, the U.S. Congress designated Sep 17th "Constitution Day." This year's recital of the Preamble will be led by General Colin Powell at 2 p.m. EST.
Other interested organizations are commemorating the day differently. The U.S. National Archives, which displays the Constitution in its rotunda, invited families yesterday to add their signature to those on the Constitution (an activity available year-round at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia; see above photo (c) Iconic Books Project, 2005). This evening, it will host a panel discussion of racial equality in American History. CQ Press focuses on education in the classroom by offering curriculum guides for Constitution Day.
All three dimensions of the U.S. Constitution--textual, performative, and iconic--are being ritualized somewhere today.
Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)