224 years after our experiment with democracy began our Constitution has been amended only 27 times. Some nations have had as many constitutions, as we have had amendments. This serves as a testament to the wisdom and foresight of our founding fathers. In fact, it is the second oldest written constitution in use today. Our Constitution has provided the means and the structure for the United States and its citizens to achieve an unparalleled level of freedom, security, and prosperity throughout our history as a nation.
In 2004, Congress enacted a law with my support (H.R. 4818), that designates September 17th as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The annual observance of this significant historical milestone provides an opportunity for all Americans to become better informed about our rights, freedoms and responsibilities as citizens of the United States.
In honor of Constitution Day, I joined Sinclair Community College to help them rededicate their Freedom Shrine. The tradition of establishing freedom shrines has become a common way for all Americans to take note of the tradition of democracy in our country. From the U.S. Capitol, to universities, libraries, schools, state capitals, city halls and at American outposts scattered throughout the world, a collection of 32 documents serves as an educational catalogue of our nation’s history. The Exchange Club of Dayton should also be commended for their role in restoring this shrine to freedom.
The Constitution, in seven articles, spells out the rights and responsibilities of the governance of our nation. Since the start of the 112th Congress, the House of Representatives has sought to refocus our legislative efforts with the Constitution in mind. At the start of Congress this year, the Constitution was read aloud on the House floor for the first time in history. The rules of the House adopted for this Congress require that all legislation introduced in the House must now be accompanied by a statement citing Congress’ constitutional authority for taking such action. These efforts have allowed Members of Congress to remain focused on the goals and intents of our founding fathers.
This month, along with Constitution Day, we observed the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th. That day, more than any other in recent memory, awoke every American’s sense of the price of the constant struggle of remaining a free people. We were attacked by those whose tenets are not freedom and democracy, but oppression and the denial of liberty. Those attacks spurred Americans to action, with the intent to preserve our grand democratic experiment. Men and women across our nation have joined the military to defend our way of life at the tip of the spear.
Throughout our history Americans have volunteered to place themselves in harm’s way in defense of something which is larger than any one citizen. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have had the honor to visit our servicemembers deployed overseas: including Iraq and Afghanistan. Our men and women in uniform remain dedicated and motivated to complete the mission of defeating terror.
The Constitution is a powerful document that all Americans should take time to read. My office has complimentary pocket-sized editions of the Constitution of the United States available to residents of Ohio’s Third Congressional District. If you would like to receive a copy, or would like to provide one to a friend or neighbor, I encourage you to visit my website at: http://turner.house.gov.