We celebrate every July 4th with fireworks, parades, speeches and other tributes. And rightly so – our Declaration of Independence heralded a new age in human history. So why does Sept. 17 come and go with so little notice?
That’s the date our Constitution was signed in 1787. Considering how profoundly it altered our nation and shaped our destiny, we should be marking Constitution Day with as much pomp and circumstance as we do Independence Day. The Declaration, after all, gave birth to our nation, but the Constitution raised it and gave it its unique and immutable character.
Lest this sound like mere bragging (though I think any pride we take is more than justifiable), consider how long the Constitution has endured: 229 years. The average age of other national constitutions since the time it was written, according to Thomas Ginsburg of the University of Chicago Law School, is only 17 years.
It’s easy to take the permanence of the Constitution for granted. But it really is extraordinary for a nation to follow the same charter for more than two centuries, with no end in sight. The citizens of many other countries see a new constitution every few years, and they experience the ups and downs that accompany every change. Not us.