On Sept. 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the document that formed the legal backbone of the United States of America. Two hundred and thirty-two years after its signing, UNC law students and professors gathered in the rotunda of the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library to celebrate the Constitution and its continued importance in an annual Constitution Day event put on by the UNC School of Law.
The keynote speaker of the event was retired Lt. Gen. Flora Darpino. Among other feats, Darpino served as the 39th Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army — the first woman ever appointed to the position.
Darpino said Constitution Day is also known as Citizenship Day, a day for highlighting those who have become or are working to become American citizens. She said understanding the Constitution and what it means for each individual is important in preserving the document's meaning 200 years after it was written.
“As someone who has spent over 30 years in the military, I swore to support and defend the Constitution — and interestingly enough, you as a citizen also have a duty to support and defend the Constitution,” Darpino said.
Americans also have a duty to give back to their country, Darpino said, but it doesn't have to be in a military or political capacity. Citizens can give in any way that they are able.