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We the people . . .

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Constitution Week celebrated

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Monday, Cookie King, along with her staff at Cookie King Real Estate presented pocket-sized books of the Constitution to students at Williston Middle High School in recognition of Constitution Day.

“It’s important for you to have this document,” King told members from the school’s academic clubs, FFA, HOSA, FBLA and AVID, who represented the student body.

“As Americans,” she said, “we all have lots of opinions and we don’t always agree. The Constitution protects all of us.”

King mentioned freedom of speech and freedom of religion when she told the students that the Constitution is a working viable document. She later explained that as the country has changed, so has the Constitution with its amendments.

“And it’s not easy to change it,” King said, waving one of the booklets. “It has to be the decision by more than just half. No 51-49,” she said. “It takes two-thirds to propose an amendment.”

For 61 years Americans have formally recognized Constitution Week during the week of Sept. 17-23 due to the efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower Aug. 2, 1956, the public law celebrates the law of the land, adopted in September 1787 and ratified in June 1788.

The purpose of the celebration is threefold: Emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution. Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s 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.

About the Constitution:

Drafting of the law began May 25, 1787 when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) to revise the Articles of Confederation and ended Sept. 17, 1787 when the convention’s delegates replaced the Articles. Rhode Island was the final state to ratify it three years later in May 1790.

James Madison, who would later become the country’s fourth presi- dent, wrote the document. George Washington presided over the convention while the details were hammered out.

In addition to Washington and Madison, 37 delegates signed the Constitution including Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Baldwin and Robert Morris.

The Constitution originally had seven articles and defines the frame of government. It calls for the separation of powers and establish- es the three branches of the federal government – legislative, executive and judicial.

All five pages of the original supreme law are written on parchment.

Since it came into force, the Constitution has been amended 27 times to meet the changing times of the nation. The first 10 amendments are called the Bill of Rights and offer protections of individuals’ liberty and justice and place retractions on the power of government.

The first three words, We the People, express that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.