Today I saw about 50 new Peace Corps volunteers take the oath. Although not asked to, they sang the national anthem. For less than minimum wage they will spend two (or more) years of their life in service to the United States, and to the people of the nations in which they are serving. They are the best of us.
The oath they took is the one Foreign Service Officers, and members of the military, and members of Congress take:
I, [state your name] do solemnly swear 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...
The work they do is as important to the security of the United States as anything any member of the military does. But there are no parades for Peace Corps volunteers. People say support the troops. I say support the Peace Corps volunteers.
My good friend Robert reminded me that today is an important anniversary. The day the Constitution was signed. It’s a holiday, Constitution Day, but not not one federal employees get off or many people are aware of. And that is a shame. People get all spun up about burning a flag, but every country has a flag. Two bit dictators have flags. Only the United States has its Constitution, the law that has given us the framework for our 200+ year experiment in representational democracy. It wasn’t perfect at the beginning. It’s not perfect now. But it has grown and evolved and will grow and evolve and I am confident it will survive all challenges and continue to serve as an example to the world.
Just like those people who swore to protect and defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic this morning in Cotonou.
Happy Constitution Day.