Learn about, celebrate the U.S. Constitution

By Observer editorial September 15, 2010 11:53 am
The day was Sept. 17, 1787. A group of men gathered in Philadelphia to ratify what was to become the foundation for the greatest form of government the world had — and has — ever known. They signed the Constitution of the then-fledgling United States of America. Today, 223 years later, the U.S. Constitution has demonstrated its staying power. Though tossed about for political purposes by all sides of the political spectrum, the Constitution remains the greatest framework for government ever written.

Sadly, though, many people today have no idea what it is, much less what it says or means. Constitution Day serves as a reminder that, as Americans, we owe our form of government, our freedoms and to a large extent our way of life to the document those men had the foresight to write and sign back in 1787.

The preamble to the Constitution reads: “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.’’ Most of us had to learn it as grade-schoolers. But how many of us really know what follows?

The document proceeds to explain the framework for government of these United States through seven articles, with supporting sections: the legislative, executive and judicial branches, the role of states, the federal government, altering the Constitution, laws and treaties, and state ratifications.

A few years later, the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were added. Additional amendments have been made, but by and large the U.S. Constitution has stood the test of time. So much so, in fact, that Americans should welcome an annual opportunity to honor their country’s framework — and learn more about it. Sadly, naturalized citizens probably know more about the Constitution than do most of us who were born in this country.

Let’s reacquaint ourselves with the U.S. Constitution. Look it up. Get to know it. Learn what laid the foundation for our system of government. Study the Bill of Rights.

Our form of government has stood the test of time because of its strong foundation. It’s worth knowing.