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Something Very Precious

By Remy Benoit

   We are a nation in mourning; we are a nation of determination.

We are a nation who gives heartfelt gratitude to all of you across the world who touched us yesterday, who reached out to us a year ago as we reach out to the citizens of all the other countries who ache with us, sharing the loss, sharing the grief.

   We are a People who know what it means to live with FREEDOM.
   We are also a nation of laws that protect our freedom.

   We strive to support those laws; we strive to be caretakers of those freedoms. Those laws, our democracy, cannot protect themselves.

   We take oaths of office, " To Preserve, Protect, and Defend...."          
   We take oaths of service to defend.

   We train leaders to "Duty, Honor, Country," to"Honor, Courage, Commitment," to "Knowledge, Character and Discipline."

   Simply by the treasure of birth in a democracy we are pledged to "Preserve, Protect, and Defend."

   The defense of democracy is our obligation.

   Terrorism is something that cannot be tolerated either here in the United States or anywhere else. It is something that is real, and something that to which we must tend.

That is also our obligation.

How we tend to it is also our obligation.

As citizens of this country, what is done is always done in our names. It is our responsibility to have our voices heard; clearly, rationally, with firm commitment to the intrinsic character of who we are; who we purport to be. Keep in mind that the violation of one person's freedom is a violation of the freedom of each of us.

   The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution to protect our rights, and our fulfillment of our obligations.

   It contains a "Balance of Power," and it contains A Bill of Rights. In tending to what we must tend to, let us protect that powerful yet fragile paper bequeathed to us. So many have given so much, so many have given all to protect it. So many live with so much pain remembering what it cost to actively defend it.

Let us make wise choices. Let us defend it with HONOR. Let it not be, this FREEDOM of ours, a "collateral loss," in its own defense. Let the Values it stands for not be a "collateral loss." Let our choices, like the Constitution, be buttressed with Compassion so there are not a lot of other "collateral losses."

Our Constitution, our inheritance, our obligation, begins:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

These are the building blocks, the structure of our FREEDOM - They are collectively known as the BILL OF RIGHTS.

Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution

The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Last Update Wed Oct 16 1996


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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