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Idaho Enterprise

Constitution Day Celebration at Malad City Park

On Saturday, members of the public attended a Constitution Day celebration in the park.  The event, which was revived after a several year hiatus, involved patriotic musical numbers, youth essay contests winners, local speakers, and Guest Speaker Raul Labrador, candidate for Idaho Attorney General.  The event was originally the brainchild of Larry Ward, and was revived by organizer Brian Jeppson this year to bring back the tradition.

“We had it going for a couple years, and then I don’t know exactly what happened.  Like happens, I think we all just got too busy.  But we figured ‘let’s bring it back’.  And a lot of people volunteered and seemed excited to get it going again.  We want to start this celebration again as a county holiday, and a national holiday,” Jeppson said.

A number of volunteers, including Mayor Hawkins, Art Martinez, Pastor Jack Harwell, Toni Werk, Ken and Kristy Eliason, and others were on hand to cook and serve chili dogs to the assembled crowd of several dozens of attendees. 

After a welcome by Republican Committee Chair Larry Oja and an invocation by Victory Baptist’s Pastor Jack Harwell, this year’s organizer Brian Jeppson provided some remarks on the nature and meaning of the celebration.  Jeppson explained that while the Republic was born after the Revolutionary war, it took several more years to fully complete the Constitution, leading to a September 17, 1787 birthday.  He reiterated that it was more important than ever to read and understand the document in order to understand our country.  Small copies of the Constitution were available to all interested.  The event was sponsored by the GOP, the Interfaith Council, Freedom First Society, and the NCCS (National Center for Constitutional Studies).       

Afterward, the selected winners of the essay contest read their compositions to the crowd.  The essays are reprinted below.

Musical performances were provided by a number of participants.  Danielle Pettis performed on her violin.  Harry Sherman, this time by himself with just a guitar, presented original songs “My Little Town” and “America.”  Kathryn Fossum, and Christie Oja, along with a surprise guest daughter, performed a set of songs from Celtic Woman, including “Homeland.”  The musical group Ma’Ladies—featuring Donna Whipple, Jennifer Sperry, Becky Moss, Jesse Garrett, Kaleigh Worrell, and Ada Campbell (Shannon Worrell was not able to attend)—performed “Sing a Song of Peace,” the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B,” accompanied by Trudy Ward.  Christine Snow and Marian Smith dueted on “God Bless America Again” and “American the Beautiful.”  The musical performance ended with Hannah Anderson’s violin performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” being joined by the audience singing along.

Larry spoke to thank everyone who had sponsored and contributed to the event, explaining that “I welcome everyone.  Everyone can support the Constitution, because that’s what gives us the ability to meet, and to speak.  So, it’s wonderful to have so many out for this event.”  He introduced the speaker, Raul Labrador.

Guest Speaker Raul Labrador, currently running for State Attorney General, spoke to the crowd about the importance of the Constitution, and what he sees as the ongoing need to safeguard its promises as the country and the world move forward.  He remarked that it would likely be a more common occasion for him to visit the county, as his daughter and granddaughter had moved to Logan.  “I’m just happy to be in this area.  I always love it.  It’s a wonderful place to come visit, and right after this I’m going to go hold my grandbaby.”

Constitution Day Essay Contest Winners

Students from around the county were given the opportunity to submit essays and art for the Constitution Day celebration at City Park.  The art was available on a table for the public to view, and of those who submitted essays, the following four were chosen to be read at the opening of the event.  The prompt for the essay was “Why the Constitution is important to me.”  Everyone who submitted art and writing was given a prize for entering.  

Zeth Kendall

The Constitution is important to me because…it protects my rights and freedoms as a U.S. citizen.  Specifically, my right to worship my Lord and savior, my right to bear arms, and my freedom of speech.  It is also helping we the people of the United States of America to form a more perfect Union.

It is important to me to learn about God and get to know Him.  When I go to church it makes me feel good because we sing, we pray, and most importantly we learn about God.  In a lot of different countries, you cannot worship God.  I am very grateful to the men who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights so that I can go to church and read the Bible whenever and wherever I want.

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”—Albert Einstein

Caroline Whipple, 10

The Constitution is a very old document.  It was written and signed by 56 men who we call our founding fathers.  One of the founding fathers was George Washington, another was William Whipple.  The founding fathers wrote the Constitution because there were too many problems in the country’s first governing document, the Articles of Confederation.  They decided to start over and make a better one.

The Founding Fathers wanted to have a governing document that would help the government be strong but not too strong.  They wanted the people to have their freedom as much as possible, with a government that would be strong enough to protect the people.

The Constitution is important to me because I can have my freedom.  This means I can choose many things that I want to do without asking the government for permission.  This makes my future full of possibilities!

William Whipple, 12

The Constitution is a very important document.  It tells the government what it can and cannot do.  Without a Constitution we would be much worse off.  And constitutional rule of law type government allows the people to have more freedoms without having anarchy.  

A free society without any laws is anarchy.  That means there is no government to protect the people, so they can basically do whatever they want without consequences, even if it hurts other people.

The opposite would be a dictatorship.  With this type of government, people don’t get to make any choices without permission of their government.  Some forms of government come close to dictatorship, like monarchy, communism, fascism, and socialism.  These forms of government try to control our lives.

Our Constitution provides us with a Free Market, Federalist Constitutional Democratic Republic.  This allows us a say in our government with the inherent flaws of democracy, which eventually lead to mob rule.  It allows us fair representation.

Amended to our Constitution is the Bill of Rights, which constitutionally protects some of our most important God-given rights.  This prohibits the government from taking those rights from us.

The reason why I love the Constitution is it makes it so the government cannot take my rights away very easily.  It also provides a way for me to try to get them back.

Serena Whipple, 15

Although the U.S. Constitution is small, I find it very challenging to read and even more challenging to understand.  The language used in it is strange—after all, it was written over two hundred years ago.  Because it’s hard to comprehend, it would be easy to think that it really doesn’t matter, but that just isn’t true.  Thomas Jefferson explained, “The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority.”  The Constitution protects my liberty and gives me a chance to help keep it safe.

It sets up a government where the people can and will affect how the country turns out.  We can let the government take away our rights one at a time, or we can fight for them.  Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”  The founding fathers gave us a way to keep our country free for many years as long as we are awake and can defend liberty.

The Constitution truly was made for the good of the people.  The founding fathers understood that some government was needed for certain things, but they also respected that liberty would slowly be taken away from the people if they didn’t prevent it.  The Constitution is what they did to prevent this.  The Constitution makes it clear what the government is allowed to do, and extremely clear about what it is not allowed to do.  The first ten amendments are literally our rights that the government is not allowed to touch.

To me, the Constitution is like a wall around the government.  If the wall remains, the government can’t take any of my rights.  Sadly, the “Wall” is constantly being attacked and if we don’t protect it, it will eventually fall.  Thomas Sowell explained it perfectly when he said, “The Constitution cannot protect us unless we protect the Constitution.”  It really is there to protect us, but, if we start letting out inalienable rights it protects go, we will soon be letting the rest of the protection it provides us go too.

I love the Constitution because it set up an amazing governmental system, while still protecting my unalienable rights.  The government keeps us from anarchy and the Constitution keeps the government from becoming a tyranny.  The founding fathers found a wonderful middle ground where I can enjoy liberty.  Benjamin Franklin said, “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.  You have to catch up with it yourself.”  I can pick a career, hobbies, the food I eat, and exactly how I will spend each and every day.  I can do what I want with my life while constantly looking for what makes me happiest.  The Constitution is important to me because it protects what I love most in life.