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and political life of their communities, States, and the Nation. This participation requires the performance of certain duties and the acceptance of certain obligations—in essence, dedication to the principles of American democracy.

Each year also, by meeting the requirements of naturalization, a large number of men and women of foreign birth acquire the rights and privileges of citizenship and stand ready to take part in the affairs of the Nation.

On Citizenship Day, both groups join with all other United States citizens in publicly pledging their willingness to shoulder their share of responsibility.

When our country honors these citizens on this day, it gives a national demonstration of appreciation for both groups. Through emphasis on the significance of citizenship, this nation-wide observance helps these two groups of new voters to understand more fully the great privileges and responsibilities that go with their citizenship and to obtain a better concept of the patriotic, spiritual, and moral integrity essential to the maintenance of the American way of life.

When the Nation honors the foreign-born citizens it pays tribute also to the multitudes from other lands who, since the beginning of our history, have given their lives and labors to the building of America. People of every race, creed, and culture brought their gifts and laid them at the altar of our country. Our heritage comes from all the world and our peoples from all mankind.

Many have achieved greatness. As statesmen in legislative halls, as captains of industry, and as leaders before the footlights on the stage of human action, they have shared in making America great. They have added stature to our growth, and horizon to our vision.

But theirs is not the only contribution of the foreign-born to the greatness of America. Year after year, countless thousands from the great plain people have played no less essential roles. Behind the plow, beside the machines of industry, at the crossroads of business, and along the highways and bypaths of our great Nation, unknown heroes have helped to shape our national destiny and to make our country great.

In giving recognition to the youth of today, the Nation likewise honors the youth of all yesterdays. American youth has merited this

honor, in peace and in war. On every battlefield of freedom youth has earned this recognition.

On the battlefields of war, our youths learned what it means to be an American, learned that no artificial barriers—racial, religious, social, or economic—separate men on the fighting front, and that theirs is the job to help erase prejudice on the home front. They have contributed to the ideal of "Americans All”—a basic objective of the Citizenship Day celebration. Like the youths of the past, they have demonstrated their fitness to receive the heritage that has been held in trust for them. The future belongs to them. Great is their responsibility of citizenship; solemn the occasion of its acceptance.

In addition to the two major groups, many communities have chosen also to honor individual citizens who during the year have best exemplified the “Good Citizen”—members of the community who have given outstanding civic and patriotic performances.

Many heroes from the armed services have been honored, and are still honored, at Citizenship Day observances. They frequently speak upon such occasions and their remarks are always well received because they, themselves, exemplify Americanism. Almost without exception the real hero shares his honor with the unrecog. nized, unhonored, and unsung heroes. Each recognizes that no indi. vidual plays his part alone, but that all must think and work together for the good of the whole. Sharing has always been characteristic of Americans. Love, hope, compassion, noble aspirations, sacrifice, sorrow, and unhappiness have been shared. To be an Ameri. can is to share with others. As long as the spirit of sharing prevails throughout the land, there need be no fear about the future of our country.

Honored, also, in many localities, have been mothers who have given several sons to the service sons that in some instances made the supreme sacrifice. These communities have deemed it appropriate to honor those who “have combined the practical and the spiritual into one workable way of human life, * * * have darned little stockings, mended little dresses, washed little faces, and have pointed little eyes to the stars, and little souls to eternal things,” and have guided little children into a manhood or womanhood where they were


found ready to answer their country's call and defend its liberty. Through this special recognition, all the mothers of the land with sons or daughters in the service are honored. Since all communities of any size now have such mothers, as well as gold star mothers, many believe the occasion affords an appropriate opportunity to honor all motherhood. Such recognition in turn honors the home—the sacredness of which is inherent in the significance of citizenship.

Many individuals, who have made outstanding contributions to our country during peace time, are given recognition on Citizenship Day. The number who are thus specially honored should increase. America is a peace-loving Nation. As we build the peace, more and more citizens should be honored for their contribution to the health and happiness of mankind in peace.

The special groups or individuals chosen for honor on Citizenship Day may be accorded recognition in various ways. They may receive special mention or attention during the ceremonies. They may occupy places of prominence on the program and may receive citations and medals, certificates of citizenship, certificates of public recognition, souvenirs or mementos, or other recognitions.

In the Nation's Capital during the 1944 celebration, Justice Felix Frankfurter, who came to this country from Vienna at the age of 11, delivered certificates of citizenship to nine men and women. Each coming from a different country, they represented all of the new citizens who had been naturalized during the preceding year.

As each new citizen advanced to receive the certificate of citizenship and a friendly handshake from Justice Frankfurter, who had achieved the highest honor available to a foreign-born citizen—a place on the Supreme Court of the United States—the moment was made stirringly impressive by Corporal Marcus Austad, radio artist, who narrated briefly the contributions made to civilization by the new citizen's native land.

Among the nine honored upon this occasion was Mrs. Angiolina Cieri, an Italian mother who was introduced to the cheering throng as having four sons in the armed services of her adopted country.

A spontaneous and heart-felt response came from the great audience as Pvt. Mok Kim from China, wearing the uniform of an American soldier, received his certificate of United States citizenship.


On a Citizenship Day observance, the Irish-American Historical Society awarded a medal to the late William M. Jeffers in recognition of the distinguished services that he had performed for his country as Rubber Administrator during our greatest national crisis. In accepting the medal Mr. Jeffers asked if it might be shared posthumously with his father. In speaking of his parents and other parents of our early days as a Nation, Mr. Jeffers said:

They built homes-not houses-homes, and these homes, the backbone of American stability, were their seriously accepted responsibility, and they carried that responsibility manfully through life. They built churches, and they revered reli. gion--and they practiced it. They battled whole-heartedly on political questions but with an eye always on the good of America. They came here because they believed in America, and,

once planted here, they kept the faith. This story of William M. Jeffers and his father is illustrative of how America was built. The fathers and mothers built what they could, then inspired their children and others to add to the structure.

Increasingly, Citizenship Day has come to be regarded as the time when all citizens may come together for a common ideal, thereby adding to the unity from which this Nation draws much of its strength. In essence, they pay homage to the country "which they share in wondrous equality.” This broader significance of the day has also been repeatedly emphasized in the annual Presidential Proclamations, and by the proclamations issued by the Governors of States, mayors of cities, and other officials.

In the final analysis, the motivations in honoring both major groups and selected individuals on Citizenship Day are the need to impress upon all members of the community the significance of citizenship, the desire to honor all citizens who have advanced the wellbeing of our country, and the opportunity to use the occasion as a time of rededication by each of us to the ideals and principles of the American way of life.


Although the fundamental or basic idea centering around the sig. nificance of citizenship is always the same, a general or national theme, appropriate to current conditions, is suggested annually. Around this theme communities usually plan their special programs for the observance of Citizenship Day.

For example, the theme for an early year of World War II was “Freedom shall not perish from this Earth.” For a later year of the war it was, “A Good Neighbor Policy Towards the United Nations." Born out of the world crisis, this theme had a two-fold objective, one immediate and the other ultimate. The immediate purpose was the building of better relationships among the peoples of the United Nations in order to achieve greater unity for bringing the war to a successful conclusion. The ultimate purpose was the laying of the foundation for fashioning a better world and building a lasting peace.

As a logical outgrowth of the war's conclusion, “Building the Peace” was an appropriate theme. This was followed by the lofty slogan, “We Here Highly Resolve,” taken from the immortal Gettysburg Address. These words of Lincoln proved to be a challenging slogan. With their sacred implications they called to remembrance all who had suffered and sacrificed in behalf of Freedom, especially those who had fought, many of them dying, in the late conflict.

The theme, whatever it may be, always has as its major purpose to keep alive the devotion to our heritage that has made this country strong, united, and free.

It is not obligatory, however, for communities to accept the general theme. A current local situation may make the selection of a different theme more appropriate.

The elements and methods used to achieve the theme will differ from place to place to meet the needs of the particular community and to fit into the local resources for program-making. Ceremonies include both large community-sponsored celebrations and programs given by smaller units, such as neighborhood centers, schools, churches, libraries, clubs, and organizations. A citizenship recognition program for the whole community, especially in a big city, requires a large hall, an open square or a park or stadium, and complicated planning; while a neighborhood program put on by a church or school requires a less pretentious setting and no involved planning.

Whether the observance is held in the Capital of the Nation, in a great metropolis, or in some tiny village, the program should reflect



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