Let’s celebrate Constitution Day


Friday I received, by email, Congressman Johnson’s weekly column, which I am sure will be in the Register soon, if not already by the time this appears. I want to thank him for inspiring me to write this letter about one of my favorite days, Sept. 17. That is Constitution Day, when we celebrate the signing of our Constitution by 38 of the 41 delegates participating in the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

I know the Fourth of July is a favorite to a lot of people for the Declaration of Independence, which wasn’t signed by those brave souls until Aug. 2. 

Writing it was one thing, but to put your name on the document was a brave act. Even though the Revolutionary War had already started, it still was a heroic act. Finally in 1783 the Treaty of Paris ended the war and gave us independence from Britain (and freedom from worrying about what the “royals” are up to), but it did not guarantee a great country.

It took another four years of floundering under the Articles of Confederation before, what I call, a miracle took place, and the Constitution was written in 1787. Our forefathers set us on a path the world had never seen before. Eventually, the Constitution was ratified and Washington became President in 1789. Instead of becoming a dictator like so many revolutionary heroes around the world, he chose to follow our Constitution. The document wasn’t perfect; it wasn’t long before the first 10 amendments were added – the Bill of Rights. As we have grown as a united people, 27 amendments have been added.

These amendments reflect a growing maturity of thinking by the citizens, for example abolishing slavery (No. 13) and allowing women to vote (No. 19). The Constitution even allowed an amendment to be passed and later repealed (I will toast the 21st amendment with a cold beer). 

Our Constitution is not perfect and neither is our country, but the framework is always there to make it better. I always wonder what the far left and far right, who so dislike our government, want to replace it with? Some ideological dictatorship of their own values? It is not our Constitution that needs replacing! It has the framework for improvement of itself, our laws, and our government in a peaceful way. If you are unhappy with our government, get involved. It takes unselfish effort and time; immediate results come from dictatorships and monarchies. A constitutional democracy takes work; we need to just be better citizens.

I am amazed and thankful for our founding fathers. To think of all the ugly forms of government that could have come in those years between the beginning of the Revolutionary War until the Constitution was signed. What we have is, as I said before, a miracle.

Yes, Washington and Jefferson had slaves. Slavery is incomprehensible today, but in their time it was virtually found in every culture. Those gentleman risked their lives and property to build a country and give us a Constitution that ended up abolishing slavery. 

I like them on Mount Rushmore. That compares to the Confederate flag, Jefferson Davis and alike who fought to divide a country to keep their property, the slaves.

In spite of our flaws I am proud of the flag and what it stands for  – that is the U.S. Constitution. In the military we take an oath to the Constitution not the flag. People can stand, salute, kneel or sit for the flag and it does not affect me, because there is a piece of paper that has made all the difference in striving for a more perfect union. So celebrate, contemplate or fly the flag. I am doing all three of these Sept. 17, in honor of Constitution Day.