Special Observances & Commemorative Days

Below are links to resources for some of the commemorative days relating to social studies. For a complete list of commemorative days and weeks, visit the Maine Revised Statutes on the Maine State Legislature’s website.

Maine Week of Heroes & September 11

  • Maine Week of Heroes. This is an opportunity to highlight the heroic people who live and work in our communities and to emphasize the importance of being active and engaged citizens. Title 1 §146 Maine Week of Heroes reads, “Each political subdivision and school administrative unit is encouraged to observe a Maine Week of Heroes during the week, commencing on a Sunday and ending on the next following Saturday, within which September 11th occurs. The observance may include public proclamations, appropriate ceremonies and the introduction of curricula in school systems recognizing the efforts of heroic people in Maine communities, such as active duty military personnel, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of the National Guard, members of the United States Coast Guard, United States military veterans and all other heroes who have given their courageous service without regard for their own lives or personal safety to benefit the people of this great land and to serve the needs of the citizens of the State.”
  • Patriot Day & National Day of Service and Remembrance. September 11: Patriot Day was designated by joint resolution of the U.S. Congress (PL 107-89) on Dec. 18, 2001, to honor those who perished in the events of September 11, 2001. By Public Law (111-13), adopted April 21, 2009, Congress has requested September 11 also be recognized as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Resources for consideration:

Constitution Day

The U.S. Congress established Constitution Day in 2004 to recognize the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Under the law, all educational institutions receiving federal funding must observe Constitution Day with an “educational program on the United States Constitution.”

Resources for consideration:

  • Bill of Rights Institute. The Bill of Rights Institute offers some interactive experiences such as the “Constitution Duel” quiz and a “Madison’s Notes are Missing” game.
  • Center for Civic Education. Lesson plans available for grades K-12.
  • iCivics. Several lesson plans, web quests and games; the site was initiated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • Library of Congress. A repository of documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention.
  • National Archives. A list of activities and lesson plans from the National Archives, ranging from a one-class-period activity designed to simulate how the Constitutional Convention delegates grappled with their task to an online version of a U.S. Constitution Workshop that includes analysis of primary source documents.
  • National Constitution Center. The National Constitution Center provides free resources for educators and students, including lesson plans and a series of 20-minute interactive webcasts.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Constitution Day page of NEH's EDSITEment! site provides lessons, interactive modules and educational games.
  • National History Education Clearinghouse. The Constitution Day Spotlight page on TeachingHistory.org includes lesson plans, resources, videos and quizzes.
  • The United States Senate. The history of Constitution Day and an overview of the U.S. Constitution are available.

Children’s books for consideration:

  • If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy, Joan Holub, 1992: Scholastic
  • Shh! We're Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz, Tomie dePaola, 1998: Putnam Publishing Group
  • We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow, 2002: Dial Books

Prisoner of War – Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day

Title 1 §136 designates the third Friday in September as POW/MIA Recognition Day. The day encourages “remembrance of the courage and plight of American prisoners of war and those missing in action.”

Resources for consideration:

  • Free POW/MIA CD & DVD for all Maine middle and high schools. Wendell Austin, the owner of Peace & Freedom Music, is providing free copies of his song, “Bring Me Home,” and his DVD, “Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home,” for use by schools. To learn more about the free offer, contact Wendell Austin at pfmuswa@midmaine.com or 207-736-2225.
  • U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office has information about POW/MIA Recognition Day, including a brief history of the POW/MIA flag and posters available for download.

Veterans Day

A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made Nov. 11 of each year a legal holiday—"a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has since been known as Veterans Day.

Resources for consideration: