By Rep. Mike Sanders
I had the great honor of talking to Lomega Elementary School students on Constitution Day, which was September 17. I was so impressed by these young students who were extremely well-behaved and thoughtful in the questions they posed to me. They are a testament to their parents and educators.
This year marked the 228th birthday of the U.S. Constitution. The document was created in about 100 days during the Constitutional Convention that started in May of 1787. The Continental Congress invited all 13 colonies to send representatives to draft it, but Rhode Island failed to send delegates. George Washington led the delegates, half of which were veterans of the American Revolutionary War.
I talked to the Lomega students about the importance of the Constitution and how it protects our free speech, free practice of faith and right to bear arms. I noted that it was a testament to its enduring qualities that it has only been amended 17 times in 228 years.
I received a variety of intelligent questions. First through third grade questions included:
- What kind of things does the Constitution allow kids to do? I told them that examples include free speech and freedom of religion. Of course, these rights refer to restrictions on the government. Of course, parents still have the final word on their children’s behavior.
- How did the first president get elected? I told them that electors were selected by the individual states, and each cast one vote for Washington.
- Who’s your favorite president? I said President Ronald Reagan.
Questions from the fourth through sixth grades included:
- When was the Declaration of Independence started? In September 1774, the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia to began work on what would become the Declaration of Independence.
- Have you ever seen the actual Constitution? Yes, during my time in Washington, D.C., during the President George W. Bush Administration, I visited the National Archives, where it is on display.
- What was your job at the White House? I was the Director of White House Interns.
- What age do you have to be to run for president? I told them thirty-five. The kids seemed crushed by this.
I received several invites this year to speak on Constitution Day. Thank you for the kind invites and I apologize if I could not make it this year. I will make a point of making Constitution Day visits to those of you I missed in years to come.
The U.S. Constitution has endured, and through it, so has our country. We must always respect and honor this precious document. It is a contract between all Americans that clearly states our rights, freedoms and liberties. It has served as an example to the world.
As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted at (405) 557-7407.
Speaking at a District School on Constitution Day
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