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Learn how the Constitution shaped America

Thursday is Constitution Day. Do you know what it took to become America?

It’s a simple question; however, with so much controversy in our country today, I wondered how individuals would answer. The bottom line is that America did not happen overnight.

There were growing pains. The following information provides a chronology of the vision our founding fathers had for our nation’s future and what it has taken to continue these dreams for America.

• April 19, 1775: Battle of Lexington, Mass., involved a British attack at dawn that started the way for independence.

• July 4, 1776: Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress.

• Oct. 19, 1781: Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Va., ending British military action.

• Sept. 3, 1783: Treaty of Paris is signed, meaning Great Britain recognizes colonists’ independence.

• May 25, 1787: The Constitutional Convention opens in Philadelphia with a quorum of seven states to discuss revising the Articles of Confederation.

• July 13, 1787: Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance.

• Sept. 17, 1787: All 12 state delegations approve the Constitution. Of the 42 delegates present, 39 sign it and the convention formally adjourns.

• June 21, 1788: The Constitution becomes effective for the ratifying states when New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify it.

• March 4, 1789: The first Congress under the Constitution convenes in New York City.

• April 30, 1789: George Washington is inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

• June 8, 1789: James Madison introduces a proposed Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives.

• Sept. 24, 1789: Congress establishes a Supreme Court, 13 district courts, three ad hoc circuit courts and the position of attorney general.

• Sept. 15, 1789: Congress approves 12 amendments and sends them to the states for ratification.

• Feb. 2, 1790: Supreme Court convenes for the first time after an unsuccessful attempt Feb. 1.

• Dec. 15, 1791: Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights, and 10 of the 12 proposed amendments become part of the U.S. Constitution.

Why the importance of the above information, you ask?

I wanted to lay out the foundation for the Constitution of the United States.

“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.”

The Constitution was established during a much different time in our country. People were coming to America from various parts of the world with their own lifestyles and customs. Yet, they knew the importance of establishing a government for the future growth of America.

As in all history, changes occur every day. The Constitution is no different. Since the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution), there are now 27 amendments to the Constitution. The 11th amendment was ratified Feb. 7, 1795. The 27th amendment was ratified May 7, 1992.

To commemorate the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the Constitution of the United States, Congress designated Sept. 17 of each year as “Constitution Day.”

Yes, America truly began as a dream. It was not easy, and there were many heated and crucial debates. So, on Thursday this week — Sept. 17 — why not take a moment and look at the Constitution of the United States?

The first 10 amendments gave us our basic liberties. However, look at the titles of the additional amendments. As events happened that changed the course of our country, so has the Constitution.

God Bless America.

Proud American, CMSgt. J. Lori Stone of Youngstown, is retired from the U.S. Air Force. Recognized as an outstanding veteran, Stone has been inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

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