There are many things that can interrupt our daily lives. Whether it's the stress of work, family schedules or that errand you forgot to run, sometimes to-do lists are irrelevant by lunchtime. But even amidst the craziness of a given day, we all need to take a moment and reflect on life's greatest blessings.
I continue to feel honored every single day that I have the opportunity to represent the great people and state of South Dakota in Congress. While debates on the House floor or in committee rooms may get stressful, I cannot help but stand in awe of the incredible buildings and history that surround my daily work at the Capitol. In fact, it was 220 years ago that George Washington first placed the cornerstone of the Capitol. These buildings witnessed the development of a more perfect union and the hallways are rich in the history of generations of lawmakers and the ideas of our founding fathers.
Although it's easy to get frustrated with the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington, D.C., it's important to remember the fundamental values that gave rise to our great nation.
September 17th marked the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution and is commonly referred to as Constitution Day. This day is designed to remind us of the sacred rights and freedoms guaranteed to us by our nation's founding document.
In 1775, Alexander Hamilton wrote: "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power." Times of war or peace and times of economic prosperity or downturn cannot diminish or tarnish these values that embolden us as a people and as a nation.
At the beginning of every Congress, I take an oath of office in which I state my duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States:
"I, Kristi Noem, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
I use the tenets of this oath to guide my every day decisions. We, the people of the United States of America, have a duty and responsibility to recognize what makes our country great and honor those who fought so hard for these fundamental freedoms.
I hope you take some time with your friends and family and read the Constitution. President Ronald Reagan once said that "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." I encourage you to remember those words and appreciate the nature of the freedoms we enjoy.