Constitution Week 2017 – A Celebration!

Source Of Our Laws, Liberties, And Lifestyles

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By Deborah Baber Savalla

Bravo and kudos to our Ventura County Board of Education! The Board unanimously voted 4-0 (Dr. Mark Lisagor was absent) at their board meeting on August 28 to Proclaim September 17-23 as Constitution Week 2017!

What? Have you never heard of Constitution Week? Me either! At least until last July on the eve our country’s annual July Fourth celebration! Now, like a child who just discovered something new and exciting I can’t stop talking about, thinking about, dreaming about, and now writing about Constitution Week!

Two days before I was born, August 2, 1956, the DAR-Daughters of the American Revolution prevailed on Congress to pass a joint resolution proclaiming annually September 17-23 as “Constitution Week”.  Public Law 915 was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. According to the DAR website, their purpose in pursuing an annual celebration of our founding document is to:

  • Emphasize citizen’s responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution
  • Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for Americans’ great heritage and the foundation for our way of life.
  • Encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

The DAR website is worth a visit! It has a wonderful online exhibit on our Constitution from which the following is taken.

“From 1781 to 1789 the United States was governed under the Articles of Confederation. Many believed the Articles inadequate as they left the federal government weak and chronically underfunded.  

Beginning in May 1787, 55 delegates from 12 states met at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to discuss improvements to the Articles of Confederation. Concluding instead that the creation of a new system was preferable to repairing the current one, the delegates created a new American government. They made decisions and agreed to compromises regarding issues as serious as how to elect a president, how the people could be fairly represented in Congress, and how slaves would factor into the population. All of this was accomplished in little more than 100 days. On September 17, 1787, 39 delegates signed the United States Constitution and sent it to the states for ratification. 

The drafting of the U.S. Constitution is still one of the most remarkable achievements in human history. Pennsylvania delegate Benjamin Franklin, while only cautiously optimistic, remarked as the document was completed and readied for signing that he was astonished “to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does.”  History confirms Franklin’s opinion. At fewer than 5,000 words and rarely amended, the Constitution continues to stand the test of time.”(Emphasis added.)

I now carry a  copy of our Constitution with me everywhere. This law-giving, life-affirming, rights-declaring foundation document was signed September 17, 1787. Two-hundred and thirty years later, not counting the first ten amendments which formed our Bill of Rights in 1791, our Constitution has been amended only 17 times. Of these 17 amendments, the 21st Amendment  ratified on December 5, 1933 repealed the 18th one on prohibition which had been ratified fourteen years earlier. The last amendment was 25 years ago on May 7, 1992.

Five years earlier, Time Magazine published a report which claimed that “roughly 160 countries” around the world have constitutions modeled on ours. Sadly, a current internet search on the topic of other countries and their constitutions produce headlines claiming that the influence of OUR Constitution is “waning”. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. I don’t know but, what I do know is that I want to shout from the rooftops… Happy 230th Birthday Constitution!”

In this spirit, I ask you to join in proclaiming “Constitution Week 2017” in our lives and in that of our families, friends, and neighbors. The values, rights, and responsibilities given to us — We, the People — by our Constitution should be ascending in our lives! May our Constitution wane no more! Happy, Brilliant 230th Birthday!

 

Deborah Baber Savalla is a former book publishing executive and is a founding member of POV-Point of View, Ventura County a non-partisan grassroots organization. POV is a clearing house for information and a source of education focused on a path of action.


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