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Sept. 17: A day To remember that is often forgotten

By Howard Coop

It is a late summer day that will pass without much notice. Most calendars, at least the ones I have seen, do not mention it. Yet September 17, designated both as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, is an important day and for what it commemorates, should be indelibly etched upon the mind of every citizen of this “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

On Sept. 17, 1787, 39 founding fathers of this land, signed a historic document for a specific reason: “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.”

That document became the Constitution of the United States of America, the supreme law of the land. Therefore, all laws enacted by any governing body must be consistent with it.

During the past two hundred and thirty years, that document has been amended only twenty-seven times, and each one of those amendments was subjected to a rigorous process outlined in Article 5 of the Constitution. The first amendment, in my view, is one of the more important provisions in the Constitution. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That amendment outlines in unmistakable language the inalienable rights of a free people.

A newly elected-president, before assuming responsibility, takes an oath that he “will faithfully…protect and defend the Constitution of the United Sates.” Likewise, the Supreme Court, established and given one responsibility by the Constitution, is required to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by a legislative body—that is, determine whether or not the law is “in accordance with the Constitution.”

September 17 may be an ordinary day, but the significance of that day makes it a day to remember.

Howard Coop is a retired minister, author and religion columnist that contributes regularly to The Jessamine Journal and other newspapers. He resides in Lancaster and can be reached at howardcooop@kudu4u.com.