Monday, September 17, 2012

Constitution and Citizenship Day



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By Diane Forrest

While I was growing up Saturday mornings were filled with great cartoons.  Between the cartoons was a type of infomercial, called school house rock.  They weren't selling anything, just trying to teach kids some important things, like grammar and history.  I remember songs like "Lolly lolly get your adverbs here" and "Conjunction Junction what's your function?"  There was another one about the Constitution, and one about how laws are made.   I will now (before your very eyes) attempt to remember the Preamble to the Constitution from the song.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America!


I remember a scene from the movie, Protocol, where Goldie Hawn plays a woman who gets shot while jumping in front of a bullet meant for a visiting diplomat.  To thank her for her service, she was hired by the government agency of Protocol, and one of her duties was to take the wives of visiting diplomats on a tour of some of the famous Washington sites.  One of the places they visited was the original constitution, where she read to the guests the first parts of the constitution.  These words really inspired her and later she used the same words to get out of a jam, and then run for office herself.

There was another movie, National Treasure with Nicolas Cage, where there was a treasure map encoded on the back of the constitution, and they had to steal it in order to protect it from other theives.  Cage's character also became emotional with the original document in his hands, and the historical significance of it.
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These ideas were written and decided on by a group of our founding fathers.  It was clearly thought about intently, and their message and ideas are still intact today, over 200 years ago.  Since then, there have been some amendments added to the constitution; one of them is the 14th amendment which discusses citizenship.  The wording is listed below:

Section 1 - All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
 Section 2 - Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
 Section 3 - No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
 Section 4 - The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
 Section 5 - The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

There has been alot mentioned about Citizenship lately, and the number of illegal people in the country.  In fact, it is one of the issues mentioned in the election campaigns for President. People are angered because the people who are here illegally are receiving benefits of legal residents.  It is a question of fairness and the law.
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This week we are celebrating the Constitution and Citizenship. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is a combined event that is annually observed in the United States on September 17. This event commemorates the formation and signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787. It also recognizes all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become US citizens.  Various civil and educational authorities and individuals throughout the United States observe Constitution Day and Citizenship Day through a range of events and activities each year. For example, the Center for Civic Education provides lesson topics on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day for students at different levels. The US Department of Education provides various resources on the event as the department is responsible for implementing Constitution Day legislated mandates. Among these is the requirement for educational institutions that receive federal funds to hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 each year.  To show your pride for this country, hang your flag high to show your spirit.

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