Saturday, September 17, 2011

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

by David Trumbull -- September 16, 2011

“September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day [to] commemorate the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution and recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.” —(36 U.S.C.106)
We are accustomed to think of the United States as a relative young nation. It was just a bit over 500 years ago that Christopher Columbus from the Republic of Genoa on the Italian peninsula discovered the New World and even less time since the planting of the thirteen colonies that would become the United States. And yet we operate under the second oldest written constitution in the world. (Quiz, what nation has the oldest written constitution still in force?)

Our Constitution is claimed to be the world’s shortest. I can believe it! Certainly it is much, much shorter than the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But then, unlike the Massachusetts Constitution, our nation’s fundamental law has not been frequently amended. In 224 years there have been but 27 amendments adopted.

The stability of our Constitution over time is even more evident when we remember that the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—were ratified shortly after entry into force of the Constitution. In fact, the promise of prompt passage of such a Bill of Rights was one of the arguments the Federalists made for adopting the Constitution, so much so that those first ten amendments may be thought of as being practically part of the original text. That leaves but 17 changes made in the period 1795 to 1992—nearly 200 years, or, on average, between one and two per decade.

Addressing his fellow Americans on September 17, 1796 George Washington spoke of our national unity and pride as free Americans living under a Constitution at the time not yet a decade old, saying: “Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism...” and he expressed his desire “that the free Constitution... may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.”

On September 17th, all citizens, by birth or choice (to borrow Washington’s beautiful phrasing) are called on to commemorate the signing of our federal Constitution and the blessings of liberty under our Democratic Republic.

Quiz answer: The Republic of San Marino, an independent state on the Italian peninsula surrounded entirely by the Republic of Italy has the oldest written constitution still in force, dating to 1600.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday is Felt Hat Day

September 15th is Felt Hat Day the end of the season when men may wear their straw boaters and Panamas rather than the fur felt fedoras, porkpies, homburgs, and bowlers that we wear (You do wear a hat, don't you?) the rest of the year. For more information see Straw hats may not be worn again until Straw Hat Day which is May 15th.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Solemn Anglican Evensong

Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.

Chapel of Mary, Stonehill College, North Easton, Mass.

This is the joint annual service of the Congregation of St. Athanasius
A Congregation of the Pastoral Provision of Pope John Paul II for the Anglican Usage of the Roman Rite with St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Brockton, observed on the Sunday nearest the memorial of Our Lady of Walsingham. A reception will follow this service

Terrorist Plot Fails

POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Terrorist Plot Fails

by David Trumbull -- September 9, 2011

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, ten terrorists hijacked two airplanes (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines from 175) that departed Boston with scheduled destination of Los Angeles. The intention of the hijackers – unmercifully brought to completion – was the deliberate destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on a day and hour chosen to kill the maximum number of innocent civilians – men, women, and children of every race, religion and nationality.

Five terrorists hijacked the Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon. Another four terrorists hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco for similar nefarious ends, but brave passengers regained control and crashed the plane near Shankville, Pennsylvania before the terrorists could reach their target in Washington, D.C.

In all, 19 hijackers and about 3,000 innocent persons were killed, four airplanes were destroyed, and there was substantial loss of property and disruption of economic activity in lower Manhattan. We must never forget or minimize the losses incurred due to the unprovoked and unjustifiable attacks on September 11, 2001. However, even weighing the losses in human life, property, and economic activity, and the inconveniences we now undergo at airport security checkpoints and other places, the conclusion – the only possible conclusion – is that the terrorist attacks failed.

The terrorists thought that such dramatic scenes as airplanes flying into buildings and some of the tallest structures in America collapsing into the earth would shake American resolve to fight. Just the opposite happened. America strengthened her resolve to fight terrorists around the world. While the terrorists may have thought they were bringing the fight to American soil, the result was U.S. invasion, and overthrow of the regimes, of Afghanistan and Iraq. In the past ten years there has been no successful major terrorist attack in America. They failed to effect any substantive change in U.S. policy toward the Near- and Middle-East. They failed to cripple us economically. They failed to unite the Muslim world in a holy war against United States.

It is said that the hijackers believed that would die martyrs to Islam and be received into Heaven (a Heaven which, if popular accounts are to be believed, sounds rather like Hugh Hefner’s “Playboy Mansion”). The notion that an all-merciful God rewards mass murders with the delights of paradise is, on its face, an absurd proposition. Yes, even as regards their expectation for personal “reward” the 9/11 terrorists failed.

God bless the U.S.A. and the free, and freedom-loving, people of America!