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American Compass

Join American Compass for a great deal on THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

When I was a lad growing up in Ohio, we had Memorial Day parades and big celebrations on the Fourth of July, but we never gave notice to Constitution Day. And this is, of course, because it was not given recognition by Congress until two years ago, although there was Citizenship Day—signed into law by Harry Truman in 1952—but we never noticed. The 2004 law mandates that today's kids do notice: that they receive instruction on the law of the land every September 17, except that this year it's the 18th, since Constitution Day falls on a Sunday.

If you have children or grandchildren or simply want a copy of the Constitution for your home, I've got the version you must have. It's illustrated by master calligrapher Sam Fink, who'll turn 90 next year. (He's currently working on an illustrated version of the Book of Exodus.) I neither know nor care what Mr. Fink's politics may be—at his age he's earned them whatever they are—but it's clear he loves this country and recognizes how essential the great document is, protecting as it does conservatives, liberals and everybody in between.

This beautiful, colorful book is stirring in its elegant simplicity. Fink has used doves as a motif, since in Catherine Drinker Bowen's great history of the Constitutional Convention, Miracle at Philadelphia, she wrote that there were enough doves in the hall for every delegate to have one perched upon his shoulder.

Something about the calligraphy and the illustrations make the text of the Constitution more understandable and even more magisterial than in any version I know. This book is a treasure.

As the novelist James Michener once wrote: “The accumulated wisdom of mankind speaks in this Constitution.”—Brad Miner

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