You've heard the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words," but is it true? Sometimes words are the best way to get across an important idea. Some people express themselves with written words. Others are good at speaking to get their message across. A few use poetry or song lyrics to communicate feelings like patriotism and loyalty.

Some of our country's most important words — written, spoken, sung, or recited — help us understand just what the United States is all about. The men who wrote the U. S. constitution and the Bill of Rights created documents that have worked for more than 200 years. Our national anthem and pledge to the U. S. flag are also words that help us understand what it means to be a citizen.

  • The Bill of
    Rights
  • The Declaration of
    Independence
  • The Pledge of
    Allegiance
  • The Star-Spangled
    Banner

What: the first 10 amendments to the U. S. Constitution

When:
1791

Author:
James Madison

Facts:
The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom such as speech, religion, trial by jury, as well as the right to own firearms.

What: a statement announcing that the 13 colonies were separating from Great Britain

When:
1776

Author:
Thomas Jefferson

Facts:
In total, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence.

What: a promise to respect the U. S. flag

When:
1892

Author:
Francis Bellamy

Facts:
The flag pledge wasn't official until 1942.

What: the United States national anthem

When:
1814

Author:
Francis Scott Key

Facts:
Lyrics for the anthem were originally a poem titled In Defence of Fort McHenry.