Minutes of the May 21, 2011 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR

 

Vice President Robert Yarnell called the meeting to order at 12:00. Jack Bolen offered the invocation. The Vice President led the pledge to the flag and to the SAR.

 

Members present: Jack Bolen, Marty Miller, Allen, Bell, Chuck Copeland, Dick Young, John Sessums, Robert Koehler, Ed Neugaard, Leo Kelly, Gray Reese, Cy Gamber, Chuck Hawley, David McCallister, Gilbert Doan, Terrell Sessums, Bill Floyd, Paul Farley, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.

 

Welcome guests:

Wives: June Bolen, Judy Copeland, Lisitte Young

Other guests: Glenn Clepper, Robbins Denham, Greg Tilsdale, Brooke Wade and her family

 

The Vice President introduced the guests.

 

For the benefit of our speaker the regular order of the meeting was adjusted and the Vice President introduced Joel Pineira a veteran of the Afghanistan wars. Joel was the class commander at the Clearwater High JROTC and while there won the SAR Bronze award. He later enlisted in the Marines and after basic training attended school to learn Arabic and other languages. Following this training he served in a number of different offices and units and was stationed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times. Joel gave some details of his deployments and assignments which included locating those appearing on the “deck of cards” of most wanted in Iraq.

 

His presentation included some remarks on the emotional toll of war, particularly as it applied to younger soldiers. He concluded with remarks of appreciation to the other veterans in the room.

 

Following some questions the Vice President presented Joel with an SAR coffee mug.

 

The meeting recessed for lunch.

 

The minutes of the April meeting were approved.  

 

The secretary related notes from members that were unable to attend the meeting. He then read a thank you note from the Chamberlain High School cadet that received the SAR award and an email from the Commander of the Sickles High School JROTC unit.

 

A copy of the reports submitted at the recent state Board of Management Meeting was made available for the members.

 

The treasurer reported cash of $26.88 and $2,703.57 in checking. The secretary passed on to the treasurer information about the Florida Endowment Trust Fund including our recent submission for reimbursement for the 25 ROTC medals we presented this year.

 

Registrar Alan Bell reported on his work. There is an especially large number of Supplementals in process. One new member was approved.

 

As Color Guard Commander, Alan announced the Lutz 4th of July parade and encouraged other members to join the Color Guard.

 

Jack Bolen spoke to the continuation of the JROTC program after the departure of the secretary. His plan is to divide up the schools in the country and assign one member to each area. This should make things more workable. Alan Bell spoke to the value of the program to the chapter and to the cadets.

 

Our fall meetings and programs have been planned by the Vice President. In either Sept. or Oct. EJ Salcinace will speak on the Spanish American War and we’ll present our annual Law Enforcement award on the other month. In November Mr. Boyet will speak to the members on genealogy and our annual joint meeting with the CAR will be held in December.

 

Vice President Bob Yarnell presented Leo Kelly his membership certificate and inducted him as the chapter’s newest member. Terry Doan received his Military Service Medal as well.

 

We were pleased to welcome Brooke Wade and her family to the meeting. Brooke won the Florida Knight Essay Contest. Due to a communications mix up the secretary did not have her essay on hand to share, but we’ve included it at the end of these minutes for the benefit of the members. Brooke briefly spoke regarding her background and accomplishments. She expressed an interest in participating in next year’s Rumbaugh Oration Contest.

 

To mark the last meeting which the chapter’s longtime secretary will be able to attend. Both the Vice President and Jack Bolen offered some background on Kevin’s work with the chapter dating to 1994 as well as expressions of appreciation for those efforts. Jack then presented Kevin a monetary gift from the members to aid in his seminary expenses. In accepting the gift, Kevin offered his sincere thanks and appreciation for the remarks and generous gift.

 

June Bolen won the 50/50 and donated her share to the treasury.

 

The Vice President led the recessional, Jack Bolen gave the benediction, and the meeting adjourned at 1:30pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE the People

 

By: Brooke Wade

In A.D. 1620, after suffering intense persecutions from Anglican authorities in England and struggling for survival in Holland, a group of Separatists, or Pilgrims, left their homeland to settle in the unknown wilderness of America. They hoped to settle in Virginia, but after a grueling 65-day journey on the crowded, storm-tossed Mayflower, they Pilgrims found themselves in Massachusetts in the dead of winter. Determined to succeed and survive in this new world, the passengers drafted the Mayflower Compact as a temporary constitution. This document, nevertheless, has "firmly established its place in history as one of the earliest examples of the right of self-government to be found in America" (Perry 59). Subsequent colonial constitutions also granted the ultimate legislative authority to the people. Eventually, in the late 1700s, this most important principle of self-government became the primary cause for America's separation from Great Britain. As expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, the idea of individual self-government laid the foundation for the American republic and its political philosophy.

Many people today believe that the War for Independence began as a struggle for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In a way, it did, but on a deeper and more fundamental level it began as a fight for self-government. The American colonists wholeheartedly believe that "it was a violation of basic human dignity for anyone other than the people or their own elected legislative representatives to decide the rules that everyone must obey" (Farris 7). Everyone has this natural desire to govern his own life and his own actions. No one wants to be told what to do all the time. There is a sort of joy and satisfaction in independence and self-government. Within every human heart exists the will to self-govern, and any government that attempts to suppress these tendencies immediately becomes a tyrant in the minds of the people. Eventually, the people will grow tired of such oppression, rise up, and reclaim their right to self-government. As M.A. Richter accurately observed, "The idea of self-government is the main cause of all great reforms and revolutions" (Richter iii). American was no exception. Her revolution focused on the importance of individual self-government.

This simple explanation of the beginnings of the American Revolution did not come only from history textbooks: the Founding Fathers themselves attributed self-government as the reason for separation in what is commonly known today as the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the title "Declaration of Independence" is a misnomer. John Adams noted, in a letter to his wife Abigail, that a resolution for independence had passed the Continental Congress two days earlier on July 2, 1776 (Adams "July 3, 1776"). The actual name for the document approved on July 4 was "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America," and its sole purpose was to declare the reasons for separation. Out of the roughly 27 reasons, almost all of them fell under the heading of self-government or individual rights. Both must be guaranteed for the continuation of the American republic. According to the Founders, however, self-government had to come before the exercise of natural rights since without proper representation in government, no person could have guaranteed natural rights. As the Declaration itself states, "To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" (Declaration). "Consent of the governed" mandated that the people had full power to self-govern. Government could only intrude into the private sphere of people's lives with the people's permission (Meese 2). Self-government formed the necessary foundation not only for American political philosophy but also for her structure of government.

By itself, however, the Declaration could not guarantee that the new American republic would stand firm on these principles. While it "provided the philosophical basis" for a limited government, another key document, The Constitution of the United States of America, "delineated the structure of government and the rules for its operation" (Meese 1). While the Declaration expressed the spirit of the law, the Constitution framed the letter of the law. For instance, the Declaration included the individual's inherent right to self-govern, and the Constitution codified this principle with these words from the Preamble: "We the People of the United States … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America" (Constitution). Ultimately, the people had supreme authority over the government through their elected representatives. That is the unique foundation of the American republic. Joseph Story, a Supreme Court justice under the Marshall Court, explained in his Commentaries on the Constitution that "the fabric of American empire ought to rest and should rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people" (Story 447). Using almost the exact wording as the Declaration, Story demonstrated how the political philosophy of the colonists in 1776 carried over into the Constitution with the delegates of 1787. The Constitution ensured that the principles of liberty fought for in the Revolution would not be destroyed by an irresponsible, aloof government but would be upheld by a government accountable to the people themselves.

Even the very process of ratification confirmed this idea. Delegates at the Second Constitutional Convention, having not been elected directly by the people, had no legitimate authority to create a government. By submitting the newly drafted Constitution to the states for ratification, the delegates acknowledged that the ultimate decision should be made by the elected representatives of the people—the delegates to the state ratification conventions. When a state ratified the Constitution, it signified that the people of that state also ratified the document through their representatives. For further protection of self-government and natural rights, several delegates proposed a Bill of Rights. Originally, twelve amendments were proposed. What is currently the First Amendment was actually the Third Amendment in the original Bill. The initial First Amendment required that each representative to the United States Congress speak for no more than 50,000 people (Original Bill of Rights). Representation, the most effective form of self-government, was the bedrock of the Constitution, the Declaration, the republic, and American political philosophy in general. Representation could almost characterize the American life: without political representation and self-government, no American citizen could guard against government intrusion into the personal, religious, and social spheres of life. As a guarantee against a tyrannical and unlimited government, the Founding Fathers ensured that each person would be adequately represented in Congress.

Governor Edmund Randolph, arguing for the principles of the Constitution, asked one crucial question to the Virginia ratification convention: "The government is for the people …. If the government is to be binding on the people, are not the people the proper persons to examine its merits or defects?" (qtd. in Meese 44). Self-government formed the basis for the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. Self-government shaped the development of American political philosophy and the structure of the American republic. America's guarantee of liberty and individual rights comes only from the exercise of self-government. Those who wish to continue the American tradition of liberty and preserve the legacy of the Founders must never forget the sacred principle of WE the People.

Works Cited

Adams, John to Abigail Adams. "July 3, 1776." PDF File.

"Declaration of Independence." Archiving Early America. Web. 29 January 2011. <http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/doi/text.html>.

Farris, Michael P. Constitutional Law for Enlightened Citizens. N.p.: Home School Legal Defense Association, 2006. Print.

"Full Text of the Constitution of the United States." Archiving Early America. Web. 29 January 2011. <http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/constitution/text.html>.

Meese, Edwin III, Matthew Spalding, and David Forte. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005. Print

Perry, Richard L., ed. Sources of Our Liberties. Revised. Buffalo: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1991. Print.

Richter, M.A. "On Self-Government; Together With General Plans of a State Constitution, and a Constitution for a Confederation of States, Founded on the Principles of Self-Government; Also, Two Extracts, One from the Constitution of the United States of North America. The Other from the State of Kentucky. To Which is Added, The Constitution of the State of New York, Examined According to the Principle of Self-Government." Boston: Crosby & Nichols, 1847. Google Book Search. Web. 28 January 2011.

Story, Joseph. Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Ed. Leonard W. Levy. Vol. 1. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970. Print.

"The Original Bill of Rights – Text Version." Archiving Early America. Web. 29 January 2011. <http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/bill/text.html>.