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basic ideas on citizenship. If the ceremony portrays and makes impressive such ideas, if all parts of the program—the parades, , music, and song; the pageants, tableaux, pantomime, and dances; the addresses, essays, and reading; the prayers, pledges, oaths of allegiance, creeds, and codes; the recognitions and awards—are built around a central theme that emphasizes the worth and meaning of United States citizenship, the occasion will be a moving and memorable experience. If, however, the elements of the program are thrown together and haphazardly carried out, without regard to a unifying theme, then the ceremony can become ineffective and be without value for the citizens honored and for those honoring them.
Parades leave a lasting impression if they are well organized, col. orful, spirited, and symbolic. A parade can stimulate an interest and enthusiasm that make the audience emotionally responsive to the obligations of citizenship. An inspiring, band-studded, patriotic parade touches the hearts of those who watch it.
Some communities hold their parade on a week day, leaving Sunday for the recognition ceremony. In other communities, the parade precedes the main ceremony. In still other places, the parade is held during the day, with the program in the evening.
The parade should be well planned, and its posters, floats, and music should be in harmony with the theme of the day. The procession should include both old citizens and new—the young voter and the naturalized. Veterans of wars should march again on the soil of the country they have so gallantly defended. Disabled servicemen should ride in the parade and be guests of honor elsewhere in the program. Patriotic, fraternal, civic, and school groups, and all other groups and individuals who will help to emphasize community and national unity should be represented. Such comprehensive participation helps to wipe out old-world hatreds and long-held prejudices and to prepare all citizens for working together toward the common goal of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. A colorful parade, participated in by the many and varied units of the community, promotes community solidarity and symbolizes the importance of United States citizenship.
Many communities convey the significance of American citizenship by means of a pageant. Events and personages of national and local history can be impressively dramatized through the use of musical interpretation, tableaux, pantomime, and dances. Episodes that feature several national groups afford an opportunity to stress the concept of unity that underlies United States citizenship, particularly if they have as a climax one in which the groups are unified and appear as “Americans All.”
Some communities are fortunate in having nationality groups that can contribute out of the richness of their cultural heritage to the pageant with folk songs, colorful costumes, and distinctive dances. For example, one program vividly symbolized the message of the day in a portrayal of oppressed foreign-born groups arriving at the Statue of Liberty in search of the American ideal.
In another program, twenty-two nationalities presented “America; with Liberty and Justice for All” in eight tableaux. Men and women in the dress of their native countries represented scenes of American industry and culture. The contrast of foreign costumes and American scenes emphasized the unity that these groups achieve through their United States citizenship. In another program,
twelve scenes of pageantry and song unfolded in beauty and solemnity the history of the Nation's growth from the Indians' first sight of the White Man, through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, into the gay Nineties, the Spanish-American War, World War I, the roaring Twenties, the Thirties, and World War II. A prologue to each sketch of these stepping stones of the Nation gave the audience a vivid narrative picture of the country's history.
One community, through tableaux, depicted Five Freedoms“Freedom From Want,” “Freedom From Fear,” “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom From Prejudice,” and “Freedom of Religion.' The “Freedom of Religion” included a Protestant father reading the Bible to his children; a mother of the Eastern Orthodox Church worshipping in the icon corner; a Roman Catholic mother and her child praying before the Crucifix; a Jewish family gathered to light the candles on Friday evening; and a Moslem, a Hindu, and a Buddhist worshipping in their traditional ways.
The raising of the flag on Iwo Jima has been the subject of striking tableaux in many places. In a gigantic and inspirational celebration held in Chicago in 1945, the highlight of the program was the reenactment of the flag-raising ceremony atop Mt. Suribachi. The original flag was used and three of the survivors took part. One of them, John Bradley, said: “I sure wish the other three could have been here.” There must have been lumps in the throats of thousands
” as they witnessed the three buddies help to raise the flag aloft in the thrilling pageant.
These are only a few of the pageants of America's history that harmonize with the theme and spirit of Citizenship Day observance. Other appropriate themes for pageants are: American struggle for Freedom; Heroes of Liberty; The Story of the Flag. No matter what theme is used for the pageant, it should always harmonize with the general theme of the local celebration.
PRAYERS, SERMONS, AND SONGS
Set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, is the principle that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that have their roots in the Divine and are not to be taken away by any human power. These two sacred documents give substance to aspirations that men have cherished in their hearts since the dawn of history—the ideals of citizenship.
It is fitting, therefore, that all faiths join in the Citizenship Day celebrations to reaffirm their belief in these ideals, and to give a spiritual and moral aspect to the occasion. They should not only contribute a religious note to the main celebration of the day, but the morning services should be in harmony with the day's theme. In so doing each member of the congregation has the opportunity of renewing his devotion to the ideals of this country and of reemphasizing the significance of his citizenship.
The observance affords the churches an unusual opportunity to add their own important contribution to a day of high possibilities by stressing the spiritual qualities of citizenship.
The following suggestions? have been offered as a guide for church participation:
Cooperate with the civic and community organizations in the observance of the day, as many churches and church councils have already done.
Publicize the plans for the day in church bulletins and periodicals.
Where local congregations have newly naturalized citizens, arrange a special service in their honor, or give special recogni. tion to them in one of the regular services.
Where local congregations have no such immediate contacts, make the services of the day an occasion for interpretation of the contribution which foreign-born citizens have made to the life of our country, and prayer for brotherhood and unity among all groups.
Plan discussion of the day and its meaning in the various church groups-Sunday School. young people's societies, men's and women's classes, and others.
Give due recognition to young men and women who have recently come to voting age.
Make use of chaplains to share their experience of the value of American ideals and the contribution of the foreign-born in the stress of war.
Emphasize through all available channels the spiritual values underlying American democracy, and appeal for rededication by all Americans to responsible and active citizen
ship. Reports from many localities indicate that all religious faiths are making increasing contributions to the success of Citizenship Day observances, both in the programs celebrating the day and in the church services. In many communities, all groups have joined together in community programs and in the work of program committees. No creed has prevented them from doing their part to give a spiritual impact to the principles—inalienable in origin-laid down by the Founding Fathers.
Communities differ in the extent to which religious groups participate in the main ceremony. In some places only the invocation is offered and the National Anthem closes the ceremony. In other communities, an invocation opens the ceremony and a benediction concludes it. In still other places, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews have participated in the program, through an invocation, a prayer near the middle of the program, and a benediction. In some communities participation is rotated among the several faiths, with only one faith participating each year.
*FEDERAL COUNCIL OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN AMERICA. Suggested program of worship, “I Am an American Day,” 1946.
The representatives of the religious faiths who are selected to take part in the program should be fully advised of the significance of Citizenship Day, if they do not already know and appreciate its purpose. In many of the celebrations, the sermons and prayers of the day have been sublime appeals for recognition of the basic principles of citizenship.
In every community today are flags studded with gold stars that bear silent witness of Americans who have given their lives that freedom shall not perish from the earth. In the prayers for the war dead, many representatives call upon the living to take increased devotion to the cause for which the honored dead gave their lives and to fashion a better world along the pathway of justice and charity and lasting peace.
Whether in the services of the synagogue or church, or in the prayers of the formal celebrations, religious expression is generally woven around the essence of good citizenship-including the guarantees of freedom of religion.
PLEDGES, CREEDS, AND CODES
The recital of the American's Creed, the Oath of Allegiance, and the Pledge to the Flag, the singing of patriotic songs, and the Salute to the Flag afford opportunity for expression of the spiritual and patriotic significance of the occasion. Especially is this true when the recital is made impressive by stressing the meaning of each in relation to the United States. Every one participating should have an understanding of the meaning and significance of the creed that is recited, the pledge that is uttered, and the vow that is made. For instance, the words of Woodrow Wilson, spoken to a group of new citizens at a huge celebration held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1916, helped them to see themselves as pledging their faith “to a great ideal, to a great body of principles, to a great hope of the human race.” Likewise, the American's Creed is repeated with more appre