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Remembering the bedrock of our nation

Today we honor our Constitution, the foundation of our society.

Signed on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, that document gave power, structure and form to the national system of government that began with the U.S. Declaration of Independence 11 years before.

There to reform the Articles of Confederation, those gathered came up with what should be a 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.”

The Constitution is not a code. It is not a formula, and we are grateful to those who were present when the document was created. It is not perfect, yet it continues to serve as the foundation for a society that remains the envy of much of the rest of the world.

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 continue to work through a period of division and polarization, where right is at odds from left, Republicans are at odds with Democrats, something we should always keep in mind is that the United States of America was founded on principles that unite us in our hearts.

The Constitution enables our nation to be ruled without being subject to harsh dictatorship, guided without the use of force. It has given us the basic freedom to agree or disagree, to share ideas and ideals or reject them and to question leaders and hold them accountable, all without fear of reprisal, retaliation or imprisonment.

As we continue to go through a time of change and turmoil nationally, it is important to remember the bedrock of the nation.

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. The exhibit includes information on the Constitution and on those who signed it.

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