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One of our least known – and perhaps most important – holidays came and went with probably most of us not even recognizing it.
Wednesday was Constitution Day, a celebration of the date of Sept. 17, 1787, when the U.S. Constitution was signed by 39 enlightened men who changed the course of history.
Constitution Day is a time for us to continue their legacy and develop habits of citizenship in a new generation.
Constitution Day is a day when schools are encouraged to teach students about the Constitution. And there is not much more important than our constitution and the history around it.
The U.S. Constitution is one of the most influential legal documents in existence. Since its creation some 221 years ago, more than 100 countries around the world have used it as a model.
And it is a living document, one of the world’s oldest surviving constitutions. And, while the Supreme Court continually interprets the Constitution so as to reflect a rapidly changing world, its basic tenets have remained virtually unchanged since its inception.
You will see people arguing over its interpretation, but never do they question the wisdom of its underlying principles.
To understand the brilliance of these men, they created a document that governs their grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren!
For this very reason, many people have spent their lives studying and interpreting the Constitution.
It is important that you understand how a document that was written more than 200 years ago still plays an integral role in our everyday lives.
The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Sen. Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004.
Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day.” In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.
Just listen to the words it begins with:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
But this is not all. When the Constitution was ratified and the nation on its road, the founders of our nation had one more surprise up their sleeves – the Bill of Rights.
Ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill sets out the basic rights we, as American citizens, enjoy.
From free speech, to freedom of assembly, to freedom of religion, to freedom from oppression, this incredible document ensures that each and every one of us has guaranteed the basic rights and privileges that are necessary in a free society.
I hope you noticed how many times the word freedom comes up; it is the backbone of our society.
It is this document and our belief in it that allows commentators to vilify our leaders without fear of arrest or worse.
There are more nations than not where that is not so.
This document is one of mankind’s crowning achievements and it is alive and living right here.
This day, this week, this month, this year we should celebrate Constitution Day.
We are blessed to live in this nation, under the guidance of this document. Remember and honor its words always.