I’m just curious… Who knows what it is about today’s date, September 17th, that makes it special?
Well, we certainly know it doesn’t have anything to do with September 11th. Even though our date follows just a few days after that ignominious incident, nothing of historical significance could have taken place so quickly in response.
If I mention that it’s a date of political significance, does that help any?
Well, it’s too early before the elections to be included in any type of “October surprises.” And while I’m sure there are plenty of historical things that could have happened on this day, it’s not like there was a Pearl Harbor or Bay of Pigs, or even a Battle of the Bulge, in terms of possible big military anniversaries.
Were there any big catastrophes recorded for the date? In point of fact, the event represents much more in the way of hope than in terms of destruction. One participant at the event in question even likened the moment to a “rising sun” of hope—certainly an encouraging and apt description.
Give up yet?
September 17th, 1787, is the day the framers signed their newly minted, newly debated, and (mostly) agreed-upon Constitution for the United States of America.
Now what I don’t get is this: Why isn’t this date celebrated more?
In the course of U.S. history, why is it that this day hasn’t come down to us with almost equivalent pomp and celebration as our 4th of July? I mean, the constitution was the basis for our being able to accomplish so much through the years—even against all odds.
Without the constitution, we probably would’ve never survived the early years of our Republic. With verbal and ideological wars becoming increasingly heated, the infamous meddling of the Jacobin French almost tore the new country asunder. A strong federal government, along with some relatively wise leadership—and even somewhat lucky turns of events—held the union together.
There are few of us who don’t know about how critical the constitution was in saving the country during its great schism—what’s known as the civil war. And without this framework for government I can only imagine that individual events like the Reconstruction after that war, FDR’s policy responses to the great depression, the struggle for civil rights in the 60s, and even the impeachment of Richard Nixon, would have each had the potential of leaving the country heaped in ashes.
If our modern media helps to shape and form our culture—and even our politics—I can only wonder why there’s no precedent for festivities and remembrances on a day like today. But search the various news agencies and there might only be tangential reference to this extraordinary event.
Bottom line: Don’t you let your families, your friends, your neighbors, and your communities forget this day. If no celebrations exist in your sphere of influence, make sure you institute this tradition anew.
If we forget where we came from, we may just lose sight of where we’re going…