Marines honor father of constitution
By Cpl. Paris Capers
| | March 25, 2014
MONTPELLIER STATION, Va. --
In honor of the 263rd anniversary of former United States President James Madison's birth, Col. David Maxwell, Marine Corps Base Quantico base commander, was designated as President Barack Obamas' representative for the official wreath-laying ceremony March 16, 2014. Madison, the fourth president of the United States, is known as the Father of the Constitution, because of his pivotal role in the document's drafting.
Each year, on the anniversary of the birth of deceased U.S. presidents, wreaths are laid upon their final resting places to show respect for the critical position they’ve held.
“We are to think like men of action and act like men of thought,” said Maxwell, quoting retired Gen. James Mattis, as he spoke to guests at the ceremony. “These words are certainly true of Madison, as he constantly made sure he was properly educated, but actively pursued what he thought was best for the country.”
Active citizenship is what Madison encouraged from the people of a young America, according to Maxwell, much like the Marine Corps encourages those who leave its ranks to be better people than when they entered.
Madison, along with his part in the creation of the constitution, also drafted the crucial first 10 amendments – The Bill of Rights – which protect individual rights of America’s citizens to this day.
Although Madison believed that individual rights were fully protected by the constitution as it was ratified, he recognized that drafting a Bill of Rights was imperative to the growing nation.
“James Madison served the commonwealth and his nation as advisor to the president, and then as president himself,” said Peter Broadbent Jr., a member of the Virginia War of 1812 bicentennial commission and vice-chair of the library board of Virginia, before he presented a proclamation from Terrance McAuliffe, the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, declaring March 16 to be James Madison Appreciation day. “It is only right we pay respects to his sacrifices.”
With another wreath laid in freedom’s name, Marines continue to guard the honor of president’s past, present and future.