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Constitution Day - Preamble

Just before we moved to Tennessee my eldest son moved out of a booster seat in the car.  It was a monumental day in his life and he was very excited. He was six.

Then we moved and found out the law in Tennessee required a child to remain in a booster seat until they were nine.  Back in the booster seat he went for another three years.  It was more than a little disappointing.

Our youngest child was ready to turn from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat on his first birthday.  He is tall for his age and proportionally heavy so he met all the requirements.  When we went for his 1-yr well-child visit, we found out the regulations had changed and he needed to remain rear-facing until he was two.  I couldn’t imagine folding his legs up so he could sit backwards for another whole year!

The thing is, as time goes by and we learn more about God’s design for bodies, physics, and automobile safety, laws change.  And unless you are actively raising kids, you don’t always know about the changes.

I think federal holidays are a little bit like that.  They seem to be added and changed, and I don’t always “get the memo.”

I don’t know if you know it, but today is Constitution Day.  We never had Constitution Day when I was growing up; it became an official observance in 2004.  Since my kids are not in public schools, we missed the memo.

But, in light of the controversies around interpreting the United States Constitution in our day, I think it is a good idea to spend time re-reading the constitution on an annual basis.  Maybe if more people were familiar with the Constitution, there would be less controversy.

I personally support efforts to interpret the constitution according to the original intent, rather than to have an “evolving” or “living” constitution which changes with the culture.  To me, it is like having a compass, and I think it is a little hard to find North on the compass if you keep the magnetic point you are using to find true North on the ship with you.  The compass will always point to right where you are and never to a fixed, guiding point.  Without a fixed point to guide you, how do you know where you are going?  It seems like you’d just go in circles, driven and tossed by the wind… (that sounds familiar!)

Anyway, apparently there is now a holiday called Constitution Day observed by educating people about the Constitution and honoring the 39 signers of the Constitution, natural-born citizens, and naturalized citizens.  As a matter of fact, Constitution Day requires all institutions which receive federal funding to spend the day educating their pupils about the United States Constitution.  It is observed on September 17, as the anniversary of the day the Constitutional Convention gathered to sign the Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787.

You may not have heard of it because it does not affect the schedules of banks, the post office, or any other government office.

So, in case you’d like to educate yourself on the United States Constitution, whether you receive federal funding or not, here are some links to archived documents and to a couple of websites with ideas for how to celebrate:

The Constitution for the United States of America  in its original form, with hyperlinks to changes made since it was originally ratified.

The Bill of Rights consist of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Amendments 11-27 make up the remainder of the amendments to the Constitution to date.

It is interesting to note, that our constitution is the oldest and shortest constitution of any major government in the world.  You can read about this and lots of other interesting facts about the constitution here.

I hope you enjoy your Constitution Day and that, with education and care, you are able to continue to enjoy your Constitution and the freedoms it protects.