But most people — including people like Janice Hadaway — can’t say they know much about the document that the American people have built their laws and politics around.
Which is why Hadaway and others on Saturday celebrated Constitution Day in Rome for the second straight year on Saturday.
“Even though I went through 12 years of school and have a master’s degree in music, I never knew that every president since 1954 has designated Sept. 17 as Constitution Day,” said Hadaway. “I only learned this a couple of years ago. And I’m afraid that we’re all painfully ignorant about the Constitution.”
Hadaway went on to say that organizers decided last year to start hosting a Constitution Day celebration to not only honor those who struggled to put together the document 225 years ago, but also to help others understand what it is all about.
“I’ve personally learned so much just from preparing all the educational materials that is in our booths,” Hadaway said.
But as much as the day was about celebration — with singing, dancing, food and even a Constitution-themed scavenger hunt — it was also about remembering that the document that so many have fought and died for isn’t about any one group of people, but about “We the People.”
Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, was among those who came to talk about the importance and history of the American system put forth through the framework that is the Constitution.
“It’s the spirit of the Constitution that we’re really here celebrating,” he said. “If our founding fathers, those men who gathered together in Philadelphia back in 1787 thought that we were celebrating something they did, or that Sept. 17, 1787, is the birthday of our new government, I think they would be offended because it strikes at the very heart of what they believed in.”
Loudermilk went on to explain that the government might have been created by the delegates who came to Philadelphia to debate how Americans would govern themselves, but that their role is minor compared to all those who have continued to make the system work throughout the generations: the American people.
“We’re celebrating not a document, not a piece of paper and not even those men who drafted it, because it was merely a proposal,” he said. “We’re celebrating ‘We the People’ that established this form of government.”