HUNTINGTON — While the Declaration of Independence did just that, it wasn't until 11 years later on Sept. 17, 1887, that the United States gained its true framework with the adoption of the Constitution.
In recognition of Constitution Day,
Huntington High School students received about 50 pocket-sized copies of the Constitution on Tuesday during a ceremony at the school The books were provided jointly by West Virginia Dels. Chad Lovejoy, D-Cabell, and Matt Rohrbach, R-Cabell.
Both spoke, as legislators, to the importance of the document before handing them out. Lovejoy noted that while it's an inherently imperfect document written and amended by imperfect men, no other document in the nation's history comes close to commanding as much gravity as the Constitution — the foundation of the American way of life.
Rohrbach, hearkening back to last week's remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, added the Constitution has kept the country bound together through uncertain times, as it always has.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams pulled his own pocket-sized Constitution from his suit, pointing out the freedoms the powerful document guarantees as American citizens, and said they should not be taken lightly.
It's a civic responsibility — to know your guaranteed rights and the nation's framework — that some young people realize more than others, said Gabriel Finch, a Huntington High senior and cadet major with the school's Army JROTC program, which hosted the ceremony.
"It's important that young people be informed of their rights and to develop their opinion of what should happen in government and with the decision makers," Finch said.
Constitution Day, the brainchild of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., was made a holiday by Congress in 2004. It requires schools receiving federal funding to devote time that day to teach about the Constitution.