Today we celebrate our great Constitution.
Some 226 years ago a contingent of men representing the states of the newly independent United States of America gathered in Philadelphia.
There to reform the Articles of Confederation, they came up with this familiar grouping of words, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, 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."
That carefully worded document, the foundation of our society, has endured, and we recognize this great document and its authors each year on Sept. 17.
The United States Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, giving power, structure and form to the national system of government that began with the U.S. Declaration of Independence 11 years before.
The Constitution is not a code. It is not a formula.
It is the embodiment of a spirit, open to interpretation but inviolable so long as there are people with knowledge and an interest in free and open society still alive in the nation.
Though we've entered a period of deep division, right from left, Republican from Democrat, the United States of America was founded on principles that unite us in our hearts.
The Constitution enables a nation to be ruled without subject to harsh dictatorship, guided without the use of force.
The Constitution gave us the basic freedom to agree or disagree, to share ideas and ideals or reject them, without fear of reprisal, retaliation or imprisonment.
As we go through a time of change nationally, it is important to remember the bedrock of the nation today, Constitution Day.
Locally, Historic Fort Steuben is commemorating that event by presenting its annual exhibit, "Celebrate the Constitution," from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The exhibit includes information on the Constitution and on the men who signed it.