For the last couple of years, I’ve been wishing I could pull together a program for our schools on Constitution Day. But the school year starts so quickly. It’s difficult to arrange something. However, this year, when I emailed Don Alsbro to schedule our veteran interviews, Lest We Forget, I asked him if he could do something for Constitution Day. And voila! He pulled together a panel of three veterans and a local lawyer to talk to the students about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the flag. Here’s how the two sessions went today.
Ben Schwartz, a lawyer in St. Joseph, told the story of the how the Constitution came to be. He told stories and examples of how laws and government would apply in situations the students could understand, such as rules in the classroom and an imaginary island representing the 13 colonies working out how they would cooperate to survive.
Don Alsbro, a Vietnam veteran, described each of the amendments in the Bill of Rights.
Then Al Rosinski, Korean War Veteran, and Val Ripsco, World War II Veteran folded the flag as Don explained the meanings of each of the folds.
After this presentation, we spent about 30 minutes taking questions from the schools. Here are some of their questions:
- What do you think is the difference between rights & responsibilities?
- I have a question about courts & judges. What happens if someone does something wrong?
- If you could change anything in the Constitution, what would it be and why?
- Should there be limits on our freedoms?
- What do you do with the flag if it is torn or ripped?
- What, in your opinion, is the most important part of the Constitution?
- Why is it bad for the flag to touch the ground?
- Why can people burn or destroy the flag in protest?
- If a person isn’t a citizen, are they protected by the Constitution?
- What would life be like without the Constitution?
- Does the Federal Government have to follow the Constitution?
This program clearly hit the spot for our local 5th grade classes. We had 10 local classes participate, and most of the schools that participated brought all of their 5th grade students. It was definitely a success and the students asked some great questions. We’ll be doing it next year for sure!