By John Roberts – National Service Director, Wounded Warrior Project
The Constitution of the United States, drafted in 1787 and passed in 1788, is the first permanent constitution of its kind. It starts with three iconic words: “We the People.” Those words, in many ways, form the foundation of American society – and the words that follow protect the rights that have allowed America to flourish. They’re also three words that changed history; many nations were inspired to write their own constitutions and form democracies and republics because of the American War for Independence.
The Constitution is very important to all of us here at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), not just because we’re Americans, but because many of us are veterans who served our nation before choosing to serve wounded veterans. For over 14 years, WWP has connected, served, and empowered the wounded veterans who have fought and defended the Constitution and the rights and freedoms it guarantees for all America’s citizens.
Many people are familiar with the Pledge of Allegiance, but not many citizens are aware that when entering military service, United States military personnel swear their oaths to the Constitution itself:
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
It’s easy to miss the significance of what that oath means – that our leaders and our armed forces don’t swear on the nation itself, the government, or even the flag. They swear on the legal, governing document of our nation that guarantees our rights and freedoms. One can certainly wonder why that is. Maybe because we are a nation of laws? Is it because of a deeper philosophical underpinning? Or is it because the Constitution symbolizes the best of what America is and could be? A nation as diverse as ours will have many answers to that question. It’s a question that is both profound and beautiful and worth reflecting on, today on Constitution Day.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.