By Shelby Horton
Americans are not defined by bloodlines, race, or sexuality but by their beliefs in liberty, laws, and freedom, said U.S Attorney Berry R. Grissom, of Kansas.
Grissom came to Hutchinson Community College for Constitution Day, on Sept. 14, to speak to both college and high school students on the meaning of the Constitution.
The Justice Theater was filled to capacity, resulting in some audience members standing along walls.
The exuberant crowd became silent as Grissom entered the room and took center stage facing the crowd of young students. Before he began, he took his two smartphones and shut them off. He said he did this to show he would give his audience his undivided attention.
Grissom began his speech by quoting the first sentence of the Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.”
“That’s the language that makes you responsible,” Grissom said, “That sentence means that each generation has an obligation to make the union more perfect — for the union is never perfect, as we undergo constant change.”
To further the point, Grissom discussed the events leading up to the Civil Rights Movement, and experiencing them as a child.
He recalled a time, when he was nine years old, watching truckloads of soldiers passing by on their way to the University of Alabama, where George Wallace, governor of Alabama in 1962, was refusing to allow African-American students to enter a building.
Grissom believes that Americans sometimes forget the significance of these events because they only see them in history books.
He said he hoped his audience would leave with a better understanding of the Constitution, and to understand the trials it took for the people in this country to gain the ability to vote. He said taking your vote for granted and not using it, is like beating down those who fought for civil rights long ago.
Grissom left his audience with words of advice regarding the upcoming election:
“In this election, any election, keep yourself informed on what each candidate proposes, and how your government works,” he said, “for a lack of understanding in how your government and Constitution works, is truly a sad thing.”