By Kevin Kettle"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."
For those of you who do not know, the first paragraph is the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. This September marks the 220th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.
Not to be confused with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pa. For ten years, our country has been celebrating Constitution Day. This will be the third year that the University of Houston-Clear Lake will celebrate this day.
UHCL will be holding its own celebration of Constitution Day on Sept. 17, 2007, in the Garden Room of the Bayou Building at 2 p.m. Angela Howard, professor of history, will be the guest speaker for this occasion. Howard's keynote address is titled "The U.S. Constitution and the Issues of Race and Gender." All students are encouraged to attend this event to increase their knowledge, understanding and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
There are rights guaranteed in the Constitution, and this event will teach students about those rights. Our freedom is guaranteed because of this document. We the people have control over our own government, but we can't utilize this power if we don't know what the Constitution entails.
"It's not a lack of interest in the Constitution from the students; it's a matter of the schools not focusing on educating the students about the Constitution," explains Anthony Jenkins, dean of students, on why he thinks so many Americans know so little about the Constitution.
"I want them to know that this is what it's for, and this is how it works," Howard said about what she was expecting students to learn from this event.
The difficulty in understanding the Constitution is just that, understanding.
"It even has misspellings in it," Jenkins pointed out while he discussed the difficulty in understanding the Constitution.
Every university that is federally funded is required to recognize Constitution Day.
"I want students to walk away with a better knowledge of the Constitution, because it is arguably the most important document in American history," Jenkins said.
For all of those who attend the celebration, light refreshments will be served and a Constitution trivia game held after Howard's speech. The winner will be awarded an Apple iPod Shuffle.
The Constitution was derived from our founding fathers' experiences. "They adapted it to our needs," Howard said. "It is a masterful piece of writing."