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NEWS | Sept. 10, 2013

The 'might of a nation': Celebrating America's Constitution Day

By Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

An air of uncertainty hung in the candle-lit room. A group of men were clustered inside, clad in ruffled shirts, waistcoats and silk stockings.

For several months, these men continually met inside the Philadelphia room, debating the future of the free states. In the end, one document emerged from the result of countless arguments. The Constitution of the United States of America, the product of many great minds, became a vital piece of American history that guides the nation to this day.

All U.S. Service members who solemnly swear to support and defend that document celebrate the day commemorating its creation, Constitution Day.

U.S. Service members at home and abroad celebrate the signing of the Constitution in various ways, such as concerts, community events and observance ceremonies.

Members of Joint Base Langley-Eustis show their patriotism annually by holding a Constitution Day celebration in Colonial Williamsburg. On Sept. 17, Soldiers of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band and Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band will unite to perform patriotic songs, memorializing the 226-year-old document.

The Constitution was signed by the members of the Constitutional Convention, Sept. 17, 1787. Those founding fathers, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton, altered history that day in the State House, now known as Independence Hall.

According to, in February 1787, delegates from 12 of the 13 states began meeting in Philadelphia to redesign the Articles of Confederation. Instead, they began drafting a constitution - the basic principles and laws of a nation.

The founding fathers aimed to create a government with enough power to act on a national level, without jeopardizing the fundamental rights of the people.

For U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Danny Weatherly, A Company, 1st Battalion, 210th Aviation Regiment Advanced Individual Training instructor, the Constitution is the "basis of our system of government, adaptable to each generation's needs."

As a Soldier, he believes it is his duty to protect the ideals presented in this "living document." Through the generations, many have fought for that shared sense of duty.

"Defending the Constitution, and by extension, the United States, is the entire reason for having a military," he said. "With the guidance of the Constitution and the leaders appointed over us, the military is the embodiment of the might of the nation."

After seven months of careful debate, 39 of 55 delegates signed the document, creating "the might of the nation" that protects the rights of all U.S. citizens.

Decades later in 1956, Congress requested that each year, the U.S. president declare the week of Sept. 17 as Constitution Week. The proclamation was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but not officially declared until 2002 by President George W. Bush.  

Today, the national commemoration represents a time to continue the convention's legacy to "form a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility," by annually recognizing the Constitutional Convention's efforts in creating the makeup of American rights and laws.

Constiution Day events are held not only to mark one of the most significant days in history, but to also remember the 39 men who threw uncertainty and doubt in the air, solely to "provide for the common defense," and "secure the blessings of liberty" to all. This sense of patriotism has endured 226 years, beginning with thirty-nine strong-willed men who had the common goal to effectively unite the 13 states, unaware their decision would have a lasting impact on the nation for centuries to come.