Because of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th will forever be “a day that lives in infamy.”
But well before that terrible day when we were attacked seventy years ago, December 7th was already a day for the history books.
On December 7, 1787, thirty delegates meeting in Dover, Delaware ratified the United States Constitution.
They stood together and, in a unanimous vote, made clear that: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In doing so, our founding fathers made Delaware “the First State” and started a critical momentum for what would become not only our nation’s foundation but a blueprint for aspiring democracies around the world.
It remains a stirring example of what a group of people fully committed to making a difference can do. In 1933, another group of inspired Delawareans – this time led by E. Paul Burkholder and the Rotary Club of Georgetown – mobilized thousands of people to make sure that the day Delaware became the “First State” would – by proclamation of the Governor each year – be formally declared “Delaware Day.”
It’s a tradition that I will proudly continue this week, joining other Delawareans to celebrate our state’s history – and the milestones and achievements that have marked this, our great state of neighbors.
And while it is a moment to look back, it is also an important opportunity to move forward – to realize the wisdom that guided those delegates in Dover towards their historic decision; and the courage and strength that our nation drew upon after that December 7th attack.
Those values, those characteristics still define us as a state, They still make up the fabric of our national character, and they still compel us – as we write tomorrow’s history through our actions today -as we continue to work together to keep our state and our nation, moving forward.