By Patrick Lynn
Portage County Executive John Pavelski has formally recognized Constitution Day.
Constitution Day, also referred to as Citizenship Day, stands as a federally recognized observance in the United States, commemorating the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the individuals who have acquired U.S. citizenship.
Typically, it falls on September 17, marking the day in 1787 when delegates affixed their signatures to the Constitution during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
When Constitution Day coincides with a weekend or another holiday, educational institutions and other entities honor the occasion on the nearest weekday.
The commemorative holiday was established by legislation in 2004, with Senator Robert Byrd’s amendment to the 2004 omnibus spending bill. Previously known as “Citizenship Day,” the holiday was observed on the third Sunday in May. The legislative act not only renamed the holiday to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” but also mandated that all publicly funded educational institutions and federal agencies provide educational programming focusing on the history of the American Constitution on that day.
In May 2005, the United States Department of Education declared the enactment of this law, applying its provisions to all schools receiving any form of federal funding.
Pavelski’s declaration follows:
Few citizens even realize that September 17th is Constitution Day, and most of us never stop to reflect on what that means. But perhaps we should. An educated public is a healthy public, and certain subjects are more important than others.
The United States Constitution, ratified in 1789, is the legal safeguard of our individual freedoms. I use the word “safeguard” because the Constitution protects our rights, it does not grant them.
Government does not give us our rights. As the Founders pointed out to us in the Declaration of Independence, our rights come from our Creator.
Because our rights come from God, they need to be protected from those who seek to take those rights away.
And, that is where the genius of the Founders becomes clear. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States is the document that simultaneously limits the government and protects our rights as citizens of the republic.
The brilliant way that this protection works is so simple that many of us miss how it was designed to happen. The Constitution restricts what the government can do to only those things specifically granted. All other rights are reserved to the States and to the people. Period.
Yes, it is that simple. Sadly, human nature, being what it is, there are constant attacks on our freedoms by those (both inside and outside government) who for their own purposes wish to take our rights away.
So today, in observance of Constitution Day, and the freedom that it stands for, as Portage County Executive, I declare that Portage County Wisconsin will make no stipulation requiring social distancing, nor mask wearing, nor vaccinations, nor shut down of business, nor shutdown of government, nor prohibition of public gatherings, nor restriction of church services.
And, I reiterate in the interest of personal Constitutional freedom, citizens may choose for themselves how they think best to protect their health.
While September 17th is recognized as Constitution Day, the office of the County Executive firmly believes that EVERY DAY is Constitution Day.
May God Bless the Republic.