I signed the US Constitution
My wife and I went to Philadelphia for a family celebration last week. I also went as a student of US history. I am fascinated by the Colonial era in general, the American Revolution in particular, and the formation of our government ultimately.
I hadn’t been to Philadelphia since I was eight years old. At that age, no one knows very much about American history. As an adult, it’s been a very different story for me, with focused attention on, among other things, Constitutional Law and the enlightened men of the era who brought the Constitution to us.
It was no accident that my wife and I made plans to visit the National Constitution Center. I didn’t know how moving it would be for me there, however.
In one room, life-size bronze statues of the men of the Constitutional Convention invited me into the room. In the room, some sat, some stood, some in solo contemplation, some engaged in conversation. At one table sat Benjamin Franklin with the Pennsylvania delegation. I was awestruck to be in his presence; he is our Elder Statesman, a brother Mason, and one of my all-time heroes. (I am reading his biography now by the way.)
I turned my focus from Franklin and his Pennsylvania colleagues. A table at the head of the room drew my attention. Behind the table stood George Washington, President of the Constitutional Convention, at full height, facing me and the assembly.
I approached the table. Just there, between General Washington and me, was the US Constitution, waiting to be signed.
The bronze man next to me (I am guessing it was the statue of the Convention’s Secretary, but I cannot remember as I was in a daze) offered me his quill pen. A sign before me asked his question of me: “Will you sign the Constitution?”
The fiction of the room display and the statues disappeared. I was really there at the moment of signing, with these great men all around me waiting for my decision to join them, or not. Even as I write this, I can feel my heart beating in my chest.
I took a deep breath, raised the pen from the table, grasped it for writing, and – after a pause for genuine contemplation of this momentous occasion – signed my name.
The world stood still for me in that moment. I was overcome being there in the room, being present with these great men, and affixing my own signature to a document of such great meaning and importance for me, for them, and for all of us, that I can hardly express myself about it.
I signed the US Constitution.
I am so very proud.