Norris News – July 4, 2017

On June 30, 2017, in News from Nashville 2017, by Mark Norris

The Fourth of July is a good opportunity to reflect on recent events helping to keep our freedom and liberty alive…

Happy 4th of July

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

– John Adams

Ronald Reagan reminded us that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.

The Fourth of July is a good opportunity to reflect on recent events helping to keep our freedom and liberty alive…

Liberty and Citizenship Celebrated. A great way to recognize our freedom between National Flag Week and the 4th of July was by honoring native Memphian and baseball great, Tim McCarver, with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Distinguished Citizen Award. My friend, Harold Graeter, was the master of ceremonies.

Associate Executive Director and Master of Ceremonies, Harold Graeter

Associate Executive Director and Master of Ceremonies, Harold Graeter

Distinguished Citizen, Tim McCarver

Distinguished Citizen, Tim McCarver

Symbol of Liberty. I addressed the Annual National Society Magna Charta Dames and Barons on Saturday. Reflecting upon the relationship between the “Great Charter” sealed 802 years ago and the Declaration of Independence signed 241 years ago seems ever more appropriate, and I appreciate organizations like these which are dedicated to preserving our history and perpetuating the rule of law.

Lillian Gholson will soon celebrate her 102nd birthday.

Lillian Gholson will soon celebrate her 102nd birthday.

Duncan Ing of Dyersburg is a student of history attending the University of Tennessee.

Duncan Ing of Dyersburg is a student of history attending the University of Tennessee.

Liberty and Due Process for All. It was 50 years ago that juvenile justice and Magna Carta were equated. In In re Gault, the Supreme Court held that juveniles have many of the same Due Process rights as adults. That opinion was written by native Tennessean, Abe Fortas, also of Memphis. Joining in the majority opinion, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote a note to Fortas: “I join your magnificent opinion … It will be known as the Magna Carta for juveniles.”

Speaking of juvenile justice, the new Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice convened in Nashville this week. I will serve as co-chair with Speaker Beth Harwell.

Photo Courtesy Of WKRN

Photo Courtesy Of WKRN

Religious Liberty Lives. The Bill of Rights, which embodies the spirit of Magna Carta in important ways, was ratified as the first ten amendments to our Constitution in 1791. It was applied by the United States Supreme Court this week in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, where the Court invoked the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty and the Free Exercise Clause to sanction the use of public funds granted for resurfacing a church playground in Missouri.

Preserving Symbols of Liberty. This week, work began on the restoration of the cupola on our State Capitol.

This week, work began on the restoration of the cupola on our State Capitol.

On July 4, 1845, the cornerstone of the Capitol was laid in a Masonic ceremony, as explained in the 1939-1940 Tennessee Blue Book:

“The cornerstone was laid on Friday, July 4, 1845, with imposing ceremonies which included a parade from the public square to the building site. While rather definite statements have been made about the laying of the cornerstone of the capitol the fact remains that today its position is not known. The stone is said to be a perfect cube weighing several tons. In a square cavity hollowed in it, the following articles were deposited: a parchment scroll on which was written a brief synopsis of important events in the history of Tennessee; an engraved likeness of Andrew Jackson; the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution of the United States; a map of the City of Nashville; Morris’s Tennessee Gazetteer; the American Almanac for 1845; Statistics of Nashville, prepared by Anson Nelson; the coins of the United States, from the cent to the eagle; copies of Nashville Newspapers; a jar containing printed matter pertaining to the Odd Fellows; a silver plate on which was engraved a statistical account of the steamboats in the New Orleans and Nashville trade in 1845. A square slab, made to fit the space, served as a lid and was sealed in place with cement.”

Work continued on the Capitol until its completion in 1859. The exact position of this cornerstone in the Capitol is still not known.

The Capitol was designed by architect William Strickland. Coincidentally, in 1828, he restored the spire on Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and adopted.

Happy Independence Day!

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