I celebrated the Fourth of July this year by watching the oldest parade in the United States, in my former hometown f Bristol, Rhode Island. There I sat proudly, with my nieces, sister, brother-in-law, and mother and watched as bands from Minnesota, Native American tribes, historic firetrucks, and the dancing policeman marched by.

On July 4 we celebrate our indepedence from England and crazy King George III. On September 17, we celebrate (well, I’m not actually sure that many folks do that much celebrating) the document that gave us the right of free speech, the right to a speedy trial, the electoral college, the right to vote (if you’re black or a woman you didn’t automatically get those rights).

The Constitution also, ironically, gave us both the death penalty and abortion. Well, no document’s perfect, but I sure am glad this one’s mine.

Visit the Constitution Center’s website.