Honoring the Constitution

Scott Ballard District Attorney

September 27, 2013

Maybe you missed it. You probably did. Not many people knew about it.

I’m talking about Constitution Week. It was September 17-23.

The kids at Upson-Lee North Elementary School remembered. They had their annual skit.

The first year I was invited to attend, they were in the parking lot of the school. This time, they are in the beautiful and brand new Fine Arts Auditorium. Parents and grandparents pack the place. Other students are there, filling even the balcony. Video recorders roll. Cameras flash.

You should see these kids. They dress like colonists. They wear wigs. Some have the three-pointed hats.

They march in and take their seats and a narrator speaks. When it is time for them to disagree, they shake their fingers at each other. They turn their backs and cross their arms. They walk out in protest.

When they recess to let heads cool, other kids come in and do a little dance. I guess you would call it a minuet. They bow and curtsy.

The chorus sings.

Ten students come out and explain each of the first ten amendments which are, of course, the Bill of Rights.

Others recite the Preamble.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.”

When the delegates return they reach a compromise. The narrator calls the roll by state.

“Delaware!” The Delaware delegation marches to the desk and signs the document with a quill pen.

The process repeats itself until all thirteen states have signed.

Just like that, we have a country.

Meanwhile, my staff was busy holding trials in Fayette. They rode to work in cars, they prepared on computers, they sent messages on cell phones.

But, the Constitution that they enforced is the same one the delegates signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. At 4,440 words it is the shortest constitution for any major country. It is also the oldest.

That’s because it is the best. And I am grateful to the students at Upson-Lee North Elementary School for honoring the Constitution of the United States of America.