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"We the People" — Constitution Week

Every year, during Constitution Week, I like to take a few moments to reflect on what the Constitution means to me.

When you work for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), you are privileged to be able to see first-hand what the framers of the Constitution meant when they wrote its first three words, "We the People."

There is no better perch within the AOC to view "the people" than from Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC). Spend five minutes in Emancipation Hall, the heart of the CVC, and you will see people who look different, who speak different languages and who come from around the world to see the U.S. Capitol, Congress and the U.S. Constitution in action. Talk to them, and you'll understand and appreciate the importance of the Capitol and the Constitution to people from Chevy Chase, Maryland, to Chile. Although it is our job as employees of the Architect of the Capitol to inspire and inform our visitors, I am often inspired by our visitors who take the time and make the effort to come to the Capitol.

Earlier this year, I provided a tour of the Capitol to my cousin and her husband who live in Israel. Although both were born in New York City, neither had visited the Capitol since their eighth grade field trips, and both have lived in Israel for decades. The January day they visited happened to be the day that new members of Congress were being sworn in, so the Capitol was buzzing with activity.

My cousin's husband, in his wide-brimmed black hat and full white beard, fit right in to the bustling sea of people who'd come to view the building or see a loved one sworn in to Congress. The people who visit the Capitol, like my cousins, are as diverse as the "we the people," who make up the United States of America. 

Here is what my cousin wrote to me after the tour:

"Thanks again for a very special tour. It was even more special cause of all the action with the new senators and congressmen, etc. We even saw everyone again on the news tonight!"

The Capitol Visitor Center offers a number of special talks during Constitution Week each year which are open to the public and to AOC employees with no passes or reservations required. For more information about these and other activities, go to visitthecapitol.gov.


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