Thursday, 21 December 2017 16:11

Keeping the Bill of Rights Alive

In photo gallery: The local and state leaders invited to read the Bill of Rights in Ballston Spa on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017; and (left to right) We the People Founder Robert Schulz, Upstate Conservative Coalition President Ben Potiker, and Stand Up and Sing for America Founder Judith Whitmore. Photos by Larry Goodwin.

BALLSTON SPA – In the words of Judith Whitmore, the officials and citizens who joined together last week in a county office-building auditorium did so because “they really care about America.” 

Amidst the normal bustle of a Friday night before Christmas, Whitmore, the founder of Stand Up and Sing for America and vice-chair of the group We the People (WTP-NY), had organized a “Bill of Rights Day” on Dec. 15 in concert with WTP-NY Founder Robert Schulz and Upstate Conservative Coalition President Ben Potiker.

Two years ago, a similar event was held in Queensbury. Schulz and Whitmore both indicated afterward that Bill of Rights Day ceremonies would be organized in Ballston Spa and statewide every December. 

It was on Dec. 15, 1791, according to Schulz, that lawmakers in the state of Virginia had finalized the process of ratifying the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 

Pastor Earl Wallace of Liberty Christian Fellowship in Clifton Park said it is important “to keep alive the concepts” in the Bill of Rights. He was invited to the Saratoga County office building on West High Street to read the First Amendment aloud, and then put a small flashlight inside a star-themed “luminary” on a table next to the podium.

That same routine was repeated for the other amendments, which were read by State Sen. James Tedisco (R-Glenville); National Guard Sgt. Brandon Moseman; Sheriff Michael Zurlo; District Attorney Karen Heggen; Assistant Public Defender Oscar Schreiber; Wilton Judge David Towne; State Supreme Court Judge Martin Affredou; County Clerk Craig Hayner; and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake).

Whitmore asked the crowd of about 50 people to join her in giving “love and energy for America” through patriotic songs as well. Pocket Constitutions were handed out and coffee and snacks were offered at the end.  

“As we celebrate this anniversary, we should give thanks for our constitutional, democratic republic, and commit to become better informed about our rights,” stated Schulz in his opening remarks. 

“So long as we are committed to the principles underlying our Constitution and Bill of Rights,” he added, “we will know the blessings of liberty no matter the immensity of our problems, whether it be world peace, foreign conspiracies, rising crime, racial strife, climate change or the decaying hearts of our great central cities.”

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