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Remarks from Rep. Sam Johnson on Constitution Day

September 17, 2010
In The News
Remarks Prepared for Delivery
U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson
Christie Elementary School
Frisco, Texas
Third District of Texas
Constitution Day

September 17, 2010

It's great to be here to mark Constitution Day.  Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S.or by naturalization, have become citizens.

The Constitution is the oldest and most revered constitution in the world – and the oldest constitution still in use.  I think it's the greatest Constitution that was ever written.  It affects your liberties, everything you do, everything your parents do, and everything I do.  It's so important to learn everything about our Constitution and to honor it and revere it.

Our constitution is an important document that defines and outlines the basic freedoms, laws and rights of American citizens. It also sets limits on what the government can and cannot do.

Does anyone know where it is kept?  The Constitution is housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and is viewed by visitors from all over the world.  Nothing is like seeing this awe inspiring document in person, but I brought you a pocket Constitution for you to take home and share with your family.

Believe it or not, the U.S. Constitution almost didn't happen.  Delegates were arguing over details and some didn't even show up for the meetings.  If it wasn't for Ben Franklin and George Washington, our nation's most important document may never have been signed into law.

The Constitutional Convention was a closed meeting and the discussions were not made public or reported in the newspaper. No official minutes were made of the debates and discussions held during the meeting, but James Madison made personal notes.

In all, 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 states attended the Constitutional Convention sessions, but only 39 actually signed the Constitution.  The delegates ranged in age from Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, to Benjamin Franklin, aged 81.

Our Founding Fathers did a remarkable job.  It is because of them that we enjoy the blessings of freedom – like freedom of speech and freedom to vote.

We have the freedom to choose what kind of job we want and freedom to choose where we will live and whom we will marry.  With these freedoms come great responsibility and I hope and pray that you cherish and respect them.

When I was in the Air Force, I was a Prisoner of War for nearly 7 years, more than half of that time alone by myself in solitary confinement, I would dream day and night about freedom.

Don't worry – that won't happen to you but I think freedom is one of the most precious blessings we have as Americans and I want to make sure that you never take your freedoms for granted.

As you all know, we are the land of the free and the Constitution plays a great role in that.  It has been a real honor to speak with you today.  Now we'll play a game to show me how much y'all know about our Constitution.