Nation#039;s birthday, convention revisited

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2002

An ole fashioned July 4th is what I like and what I have enjoyed most of my life.

I define that as cooking on the grill, watermelon, and homemade ice cream, among other things.

I do not remember my first July 4th but I do remember that I have enjoyed the &uot;ole fashioned&uot; kind many times through the years.

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It incorporates just about everything that is good in America – good food, family time, remembering our Creator and celebrating our nation’s birthday.

A larger number of American flags than usual seem to be flying from homes and businesses.

I think this was to be expected in light of this being our first July 4th celebration since the tragedy of 9-11.

If you followed the news stories on television and in the newspapers, you know that there were many public celebrations of our nation’s birthday, all the way from the East Coast to the West Coast.

As I thought about the nature of these celebrations, it made me reflect on our Constitution in a very personal way.

For generations the people of the United States have revered the Constitution – and rightly so.

It has provided an enduring and evolving framework for over 200 years of national development.

The original Constitution reflects many of the basic American tenets of the time it was written.

These include the theory of the state as a compact between the people and the government and the idea that fundamental laws should be written.

The Constitution also reaffirms the strong belief in the traditional rights of protection of life, liberty and property that Americans have always defended against outsiders, including other nations.

There were 55 delegates who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to create this new form of government for the United States.

Few of them could likely have imagined how successful and enduring their efforts would be.

Their document has literally persevered through the centuries as the foundation of our nation.

It has been buffeted by a civil war, two world wars, many domestic conflicts, a civil rights movement, and an economic depression.

Despite all of this, it has survived and today it serves as a symbol of democracy to the world, whose history it has immeasurably influenced.

Our nation has evolved from a weak and basically agricultural collection of almost independent states into an industrial colossus that ranks high among the sovereign nations of the world and yet our Constitution has withstood all the tests that naturally come from such an evolution.

I watched on television, as perhaps you did, the wonderful musical program celebrating the 4th of July which was conducted on the lawn of Mt. Vernon, the residence of our founding father George Washington.

With the Mt. Vernon home in the background, the singers proclaimed many patriotic songs and it was quite a remarkable scene.

There were at least two major conferences and conventions leading up to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention.

One of these was held in March 1785 at Mt. Vernon and George Washington was one of the attendees at the conference.

Sometimes we tend to think that our Constitution was framed overnight when, in fact, it was the culmination of several years of meetings and discussions and planning.

It is good to reflect on this great document which is so much a part of our history and one of the primary reasons we can celebrate an &uot;ole fashioned&uot; July 4th.

May it ever be.

Until next week, remember that &uot;I’ll go with your or I’ll go for you&uot; to help you solve any problem related to state government.

Call on me if you feel I can be of assistance.