15 December 2010

Celebrating Freedom & Rights

“No date in the long history of freedom means more to liberty-loving men in all liberty-loving countries than the 15th day of December, 1791. On that day 150 years ago, a new nation, through an elected Congress, adopted a declaration of human rights which has influenced the thinking of all mankind from one end of the world to the other.”
~Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during the first ever Bill of Rights Federal Holiday, December 15, 1941

We take for granted what we have in the United States.

We have rights and freedoms that some nations in the world can only dream about. It is amazing that our Founding Fathers had the foresight to create a document that has guided this Nation for 219 years. And pretty much most of it is as relevant today as it was in 1791. That is some awesome writing, my friends, when your message stands the test of time.

The Bill of Rights is so basic to our way of life in this country, and when things are so elemental it is easy to forget about them and to not put any weight in their meaning. We celebrate the Constitution more often. You hear about it a lot. But the Constitution wouldn't exist or have as strong a meaning without the Bill of Rights. So why don't we celebrate it more?

We take days off to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr, have special deals on everything from mattresses to motorcycles on President's Day, we participate in the beauty of our nation on Arbor Day and Earth Day, and we do a pretty bang up job of letting freedom ring on the 4th of July. We honor our veterans and workers everywhere and even pay tribute to Columbus for making the trek over here.

Has anyone every wished you a "Happy Bill of Rights" day? Why don't we honor the Bill of Rights? December 15 is actually the day that FDR set aside in 1941 to do just that. How come this is the first I have heard about it? {Or am I living in a hole and not up on the current events?}

I saw an ad like this in the local newspaper that got me thinking.

And then I found the website and read this really insightful blog post from the President and Founder of the 1 For All movement, Ken Paulsen. I encourage you to click here to read it.

Here are the Bill of Rights as a refresher:
  • Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  • Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. 
  • Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  • Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
  • Amendment VII: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
  •  Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  • Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

How would your life be different if we got rid of one of these?
Which one would you eliminate? 

I can still recite the Preamble to the Constitution (but only if I hum the Schoolhouse Rock tune in my head!).

Can you sing it along with me?

Enjoy the day!


SueBeads said...

Cool post you! Thanks for the reminder that we can't take for granted the sacrifices of those who came before us!

Riki Schumacher said...

Incredibly important to remember Erin, thanks for the wonderful post. Right you are. Hugs, Riki

Denise Yezbak Moore said...

I love your post Erin! We the people in order to form a more perfect union....... You can tell we are about the same age!

Brandi Hussey said...

There is SO much we take for granted as Americans. Thanks for reminding me what our own history involved!

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Erin, thank you so much for sharing that post and about December 15th being Bill of Rights Day.

Denise Yezbak Moore said...

Girlfriend I can totally recite the preamble. I am in the DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution). I was at a meeting once with my Aunt who knows everything about American history and politics. The members asked everyone to recite the preamble - the song came to my mind and I recited it. My Aunt looked at me and said "How the heck did you know the words to the preamble" I said "School House Rock Baby!"

Valerie said...

Because I have spent some time outside the country over the last few decades, I can tell you that, yes, coming back to the US is a special feeling. Sure, there are some things that are not as we'd all like them to be - but I've seen first hand a) what we all have to be grateful for and b) what we take for granted - unlike any other population of people. And I have to say, your blog is gorgeous - your tag line is my life philosophy right now - and it's a happiness I never knew could be possible! Gushing over, back to my coffee. :)


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