Constitution Day is a time when every citizen should reflect on the importance of our 227 year-old U.S. Constitution and what it means to us. Adopted on September 17, 1787, and consisting of a little over 4,500 words, the U. S. Constitution is the oldest and the shortest written constitution of any major government in the world.
It was in the summer of 1787 that 55 delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies (Rhode Island didn’t send a delegate) convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to consider making changes to the existing Articles of Confederation. Independence Hall was the same location in which eleven years earlier, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence had been signed. The Second Continental Congress created the Articles of Confederation in November of 1777, and they were ratified by the states in 1781. These Articles governed the new nation until the Constitution took effect. When this group of delegates came together, they recognized their shortcoming of not having a centralized government and thus sought to draft and adopt a new constitution that would provide for a much stronger federal government. In creating a stronger government, they established three distinctive branches—Legislative, Executive, & Judicial—as a means of checks and balances to limit the individual branches’ powers so that one wouldn’t become too strong over the others. It was these men’s desire to create a “more perfect union,” and this document helped do that. Individual freedoms and liberties were to be preserved for all Americans.
Each educational institution that takes federal money is required to have some type of program honoring this special day. Constitution Day 2014 was observed locally at Crowder College on Wednesday with various activities. In addition, every federal agency is also to provide information to its employees regarding Constitution Day, according to a 2004 law. The purpose is so we, as a people, do not forget the importance of this awesome document to our nation’s history.
The United State’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day that took place on Friday, is an event that many people are unaware of. However, we all need to take the time to remember and reflect on those who were prisoners of wars and those who were reported as missing in action. We must remember their sacrifices and their service to our nation. Especially on this day, all military installations fly the POW/MIA flag. The American Legion is the leading organization in helping keep memories alive of these service men and women. They are committed to obtain a full accounting of all U.S. military personnel missing of previous wars around the world. The Legion continues to pressure Congress and other politicians to make funds and personnel available through the Department of Defense to accomplish this task. The American Legion recognizes recent advancements in technology that could help locate and identify the remains of those missing service members and are urging the President and Congress to take action. More than 83,000 American service personnel are missing or unaccounted for from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the 1991 Gulf War. The American Legion remains steadfast in its commitment to their goal of achieving as full as possible an accounting for all U.S. military personnel.
Friday evening, I was privileged to be a part of a ceremony remembering these brave individuals. United State’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one day of six in which Congress mandates the flying of the POW/MIA flag. The other days are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day. As a nation we must remember and must echo the words written on the POW/MIA flag, “You are never forgotten.” And as taken from the ceremony, “May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.”
I am grateful to live in a land that values freedom and opportunity. Constitution Day and United State’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day are two annual events in September that help us remember those who laid aside personal differences to work for the better good of a new nation, and those who were so committed to this better good that they sacrificed their own freedoms in order to protect our freedoms.