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Recognizing Constitution Day

Rep. Bruce Braley

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the importance of Constitution Day, happening this Saturday, September 17, 2011, celebrating the 224th anniversary of our Founding Fathers' signing of the Constitution. Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past success of our founders in the form of the Constitution, the two centuries of progress since, and the future promise of the United States under the guidance of the document given to us in 1787.

Constitution Day reminds us to review the whole document and what it means to our country, and shows that support for the Constitution requires more than chanting slogans at a political rally. Calling yourself a ``strict constitutionalist'' means nothing if you don't bother to read the entire Constitution and fight for everything it includes, not just the portions that fit neatly with your personal political philosophy.

As an Iowan, and a student of the Constitution for more than 30 years, I take pride in repeating our state's motto: ``Our Liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.'' Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the document that prizes our personal liberties and preserves our rights in a system of laws that recognize the individual spirit of every American, and has made our Nation a shining beacon in the world. The development of the Constitution has recognized the rights of all men and women, and created a system of equality that has helped our Nation move past prejudice and discrimination in some of our darkest hours.

Constitution Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the system of justice for all by creating an impartial judiciary and a system of law that recognizes the rights of every citizen to file a grievance against their government or fellow man. It lets us reflect on the goals of a responsive executive, a representative legislature, and a responsible judiciary working on behalf of all citizens to preserve their rights, respect their liberties, and allow for progress. It reminds us to all work harder to support the progress of the United States.

I ask all my colleagues and constituents to join me in recognizing Constitution Day and reflecting on the lasting work of the Founding Fathers.