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DoD Celebrates Constitution and Citizenship Days, Constitution Week

Sept. 19, 2017 | BY Cheryl Pellerin , DOD News
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The Defense Department, along with all other federal agencies, celebrated Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Sept. 17, and is celebrating Constitution Week Sept. 17-23.

An image of the first page of the U.S. Constitution.
Constitution
An image of the first page of the U.S. Constitution.
Photo By: DoD
VIRIN: 170919-O-ZZ999-999

The Constitution was signed in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787.

"The U.S. Constitution has withstood the test of time for more than two centuries as our nation's charter of government and the guarantor of our liberties," Stephanie Barna, assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, said in an Aug. 31 memo to all service assistant secretaries for manpower and reserve affairs.

"This founding document reflects our core values and enshrines the truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence: that we are each endowed with certain unalienable rights," she added.

Section 11l(a) of Public Law 108-447 requires all federal agencies to commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by offering education and training to new and current employees and making duty time available for this activity.

Citizenship, Constitution Online

To help DoD and the military services meet statutory requirements for the observances, the department hosts an online U.S. Constitution course and provides information on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day and Constitution Week on a special website.

Earning the title "Marine" can also help non-U.S. citizens earn the rights and privileges of citizenship. Twelve new Marines took the Oath of Allegiance and became naturalized U.S. citizens during the week of 2017's observances of Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. The Marines and their countries of origin are: Pfc. Pabel Reyes Polanco, Dominican Republic; Pfc. Sayfullakhuja Nurullakhonov, Uzbekistan; Pfc. Paul Lacarta, Philippines; Pvt. Zhiyuan Quan, China; Pvt. David-Mathieu Lewis, Jamaica; Pvt. Muataz Al Dujaili, Iraq; Pvt. Louis Estiverne, Haiti; Pfc. Deshaun Cookson, Jamaica; Pfc. Kevin Gonzalez Murcia, El Salvador; Pvt. Fernando Bermudez Canizares, Cuba; Pvt. Pablo Vergara, Chile; Pvt. Louis Urmeneta, Peru. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Bavastro
Earning the title "Marine" can also help non-U.S. citizens earn the rights and privileges of citizenship. Twelve new Marines took the Oath of Allegiance and became naturalized U.S. citizens during the week of 2017's observances of Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. The Marines and their countries of origin are: Pfc. Pabel Reyes Polanco, Dominican Republic; Pfc. Sayfullakhuja Nurullakhonov, Uzbekistan; Pfc. Paul Lacarta, Philippines; Pvt. Zhiyuan Quan, China; Pvt. David-Mathieu Lewis, Jamaica; Pvt. Muataz Al Dujaili, Iraq; Pvt. Louis Estiverne, Haiti; Pfc. Deshaun Cookson, Jamaica; Pfc. Kevin Gonzalez Murcia, El Salvador; Pvt. Fernando Bermudez Canizares, Cuba; Pvt. Pablo Vergara, Chile; Pvt. Louis Urmeneta, Peru. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Bavastro
Earning the title "Marine" can also help non-U.S. citizens earn the rights and privileges of citizenship. Twelve new Marines took the Oath of Allegiance and became naturalized U.S. citizens during the week of 2017's observances of Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. The Marines and their countries of origin are: Pfc. Pabel Reyes Polanco, Dominican Republic; Pfc. Sayfullakhuja Nurullakhonov, Uzbekistan; Pfc. Paul Lacarta, Philippines; Pvt. Zhiyuan Quan, China; Pvt. David-Mathieu Lewis, Jamaica; Pvt. Muataz Al Dujaili, Iraq; Pvt. Louis Estiverne, Haiti; Pfc. Deshaun Cookson, Jamaica; Pfc. Kevin Gonzalez Murcia, El Salvador; Pvt. Fernando Bermudez Canizares, Cuba; Pvt. Pablo Vergara, Chile; Pvt. Louis Urmeneta, Peru. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Bavastro
Kilo Company – Naturalization Ceremony – Sept. 14, 2017
Earning the title "Marine" can also help non-U.S. citizens earn the rights and privileges of citizenship. Twelve new Marines took the Oath of Allegiance and became naturalized U.S. citizens during the week of 2017's observances of Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. The Marines and their countries of origin are: Pfc. Pabel Reyes Polanco, Dominican Republic; Pfc. Sayfullakhuja Nurullakhonov, Uzbekistan; Pfc. Paul Lacarta, Philippines; Pvt. Zhiyuan Quan, China; Pvt. David-Mathieu Lewis, Jamaica; Pvt. Muataz Al Dujaili, Iraq; Pvt. Louis Estiverne, Haiti; Pfc. Deshaun Cookson, Jamaica; Pfc. Kevin Gonzalez Murcia, El Salvador; Pvt. Fernando Bermudez Canizares, Cuba; Pvt. Pablo Vergara, Chile; Pvt. Louis Urmeneta, Peru. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Bavastro
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Bavastro
VIRIN: 170913-M-MF691-070

The website has a range of information on the observances and hosts an interactive short course about the Constitution, in which visitors can test their Constitutional knowledge or play the "You Be the Judge Game" and earn certificates, DoD officials noted.

The course is designed to provide interesting and educational information about events leading to the Founding Fathers' creation of the Constitution and the document's evolution through the 19th and 20th centuries, they added.

Website visitors can watch a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and access governmentwide resources that include a center for educational civics material.

Commemoration Highlights

This year the department is highlighting links to the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties and Transparency Division, and a Navy website that offers more resources and highlights the commemorative events.

"Please join me in making Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week, a time for DoD personnel to reflect on and reaffirm their rights and obligations as citizens," Barna wrote in the memo, "and to honor the commitments and sacrifices made by DoD personnel in defense of our nation."

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)