I celebrate Bill of Rights Day this year by sharing an hour-long Norman Corwin tribute to the Bill of Rights that was released on radio on the 150th anniversary of final ratification of the Bill of Rights. (Virginia became the eleventh state to ratify ten of the twelve amendments passed by Congress, surpassing the three-fourths of the 14 states necessary for ratification, creating the Bill of Rights.)
The 150th anniversary of the ratification fell on December 15, 1941, which of course, was a mere 8 days after Pearl Harbor. The tribute made defense of the Bill of Rights a central part of the reason for fighting World War II.
The tribute is star-studded including most prominently Jimmy Stewart, but also including Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson, Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, Orson Welles and others.
It is an inspiring tribute, but also an interesting period piece in the context of that time. To my ear, there are some jarring mentions of “fighting for democracy” when discussing the quintessentially republican part of the Constitution.
The title, “We Hold These Truths” is of course taken NOT from the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but the more fundamental Declaration of Independence. But given that the Declaration says that the purpose of government is to secure unalienable rights and that the Bill of Rights was designed to do just that, I am just fine with the title.
Enjoy this tribute to a defining achievement of American exceptionalism. And pray and work to be certain that we and our posterity can celebrate it still on the 250th anniversary just 18 years away in 2041.