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Chapter 3

THE PROGRAM

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O DETAILED OUTLINE or set of procedure for building the Citi

zenship Day program can be suggested. Observance of the day may take any one of a variety of forms, depending upon the local situation and the community's own peculiar needs. Sound planning is essential for the production of a timely and well-balanced program in any community regardless of whether that community is large or small, or has other characteristics.

ORGANIZATION OF COMMITTEES

It is usually desirable to organize an overall or General Committee with an Executive Committee, which in turn may set up appropriate subcommittees. The General Committee should be broadly inclusive of community interests. All organizations and agencies promoting better citizenship, especially those specifically related to the two major groups to be recognized, should be represented.

Because citizenship applies to all alike and Citizenship Day is an occasion that emphasizes fundamental loyalty to the American ideal—not to any group or individual cause, no sectarian, partisan, or any other interests of that nature should ever enter into the organization and planning of the program. The Committee should be a truly democratic one, and its chairman and committees should be selected with only the interest of our country in mind.

To keep the program in the hands of effective leadership and to maintain enthusiasm, the chairmanship of the General Committee and probably the membership of the Executive Committee should be rotated every year or two. A continuing or interim committee,

‘Dan PYLE, Judge, St. Joseph Circuit Court, South Bend, Ind.

“The leadership in arranging and carrying out programs is a very serious matter. Some men and women can lead and various groups are ready to follow them. To make a complete and successful program, leadership should not, however, be in the hands of the

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or some other form of extended organization, should be formed to follow up on plans or decisions that carry over from year to year and to do a certain amount of work in preparation for the program of the succeeding year. Failure to establish such a committee has been a distinct weakness in many communities. Each year a completely new organization has to be set up, and a new start made on planning for the celebration.

The subcommittees, appointed by the chairman of the General Committee or named in some other way, need not necessarily be members of the General Committee. Emphasis should be upon obtaining people skilled and experienced in the area of the committee's responsibility.

For example, if it is decided to have a parade, an experienced parade committee should be appointed. To plan and supervise the parade, determine the route, arrange for marching units, approve the number and type of floats, and make the parade beautiful, dignified, and patriotic, require not only an enthusiastic committee but one well versed in such matters.

Likewise, if there is to be a pageant, it is essential that the planning and organization be in the hands of a trained person. Experienced people can discover and utilize many resources for pageant making in the average community.

A later chapter herein on programs lists suggested committees and their duties.

RELATION TO BROADER PROGRAMS

Although the desirability of making the Citizenship Day celebration an integral part of a long-time, larger citizenship program cannot be discussed fully here, consideration should be given to the possibility of developing this relationship, since it is a vital factor, perhaps even the basic factor, in the future growth of the

same persons from year to year. Continuous leadership has a tendency to exhaust enthusiasm and lose the power to command cooperation to a successful conclusion. It is an unusual leader who can hold his position in a neighborhood for any length of time. Changing the appointments of persons who fill strategic positions on the programs gives everyone interested a chance. This is very important where there is a mixed population of nationalities, and religion, and of industrial activities. The selection of leaders should be made so as to create a growth in the movement and interest in the programs.”

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observance. The communities whose educational authorities, patriotic organizations, civic and religious groups, and other agencies and individuals carry on citizenship education before and after Citizenship Day not only better prepare their citizens for serious reflection on the significance of this particular event, but condition them for better participation in the daily activities of community, State, National, and world life.

Communities should try to extend the period devoted to recognition of citizenship beyond the annual ceremony. Sponsors of the movement for a Citizenship Day celebration have encouraged observance of the week preceding, called variously “I Am An American Week,” “National Citizenship Week,” or “Freedom Week.” Activities on every day of the week should emphasize the significance of citizenship, and lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the more formal program that usually accompanies the final observance.

In large centers where tens of thousands of people attend the celebration of Citizenship Day and where thousands probably see nothing more basic in the ceremony than a spectacular display, it is especially worthwhile to emphasize observance of a citizenshiprecognition week and even to hold neighborhood celebrations, for example, in churches, schools, or community centers during this period.

Some communities use this educational or preparatory week for informal

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discussions that will be helpful to the newly naturalized citizen. Other communities hold meetings that are in the nature of an interesting and valuable extension of the studies that the new citizens have just completed to attain naturalization. Occasionally these meetings take the form of brief but inspirational presentations of the basic institutions underlying our type of government. Often they deal with current subjects about which the new citizen will be called upon to decide.

Here and there legislation has been passed and educational plans have been devised for the benefit of the new voter who has just reached maturity, the better to prepare him for full and responsible citizenship. The Extension Divisions of several universities have participated in formulating plans for discussion groups in their respective States.

No more important subject can be emphasized to the new voter during this period of preparation than the significance of suffrage.

It is vital for every American—in fact it is the sacred duty of every citizen—to make known his will through that priceless heritage, the ballot. Yet some of our citizens, who are outstanding in ministerial bodies, bar and medical associations, women's clubs, and other groups subscribe to the principle that they cannot afford to take part in politics. They complain of bad government, yet neglect the golden opportunity offered them to better conditions by exercising their right to vote. Even if they do vote, many of them cast their ballots in abject ignorance of the qualifications of the candidates running for office and of the issues at stake-ignorance perhaps even of the world-shaping events that their votes may start in motion. Millions of our citizens do not even take the trouble to vote, either in Presidential or in local elections.

It, therefore, is encouraging to note that many communities take one day of the week preceding Citizenship Day to stress the sig. nificance of suffrage, to seek one hundred percent registration of eligible voters, and to urge their complete participation in the elections. This has been done on a nonpartisan basis. Voters Information Day has been formally designated in several places. For this day, the League of Women Voters and Adult Education Departments have arranged programs on current issues.

CITIZENS CHOSEN FOR SPECIAL HONOR

The selection of certain groups of citizens for honor on Citizenship Day dramatizes recognition of United States citizenship. Citizenship Day was instituted for the recognition of youths of native birth just arrived at voting age, and those from other countries recently naturalized.

Each year over two million young men and women, who are already citizens, reach the age at which they acquire certain rights and privileges. At this time, they begin participation in the civic

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