Looking at 4,400 words that formed the country

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- "We the people ..." 

No three words have as much significance to the United States as these. More important than these words, however, are the seven articles and 27 amendments that follow these words, making the Constitution of the United States. 

In 1787 Benjamin Franklin was 80 years old, the Revolutionary War had ended, and a new government was being formed. The American colonists were having little success with the Articles of the Confederation, and decided it was time for a better doctrine. 

4,400 words later, and maybe a couple glasses of scotch, today's oldest living constitution was penned. Our American forefathers did so well the document has only been amended 27 times (the most recent being in 1992 when Congress decided to limit how much they are paid - an issue that was debated in the legislature for over 200 years). Ten of the 27 articles, known as the Bill of Rights, were added together in 1791. Rights that are not given to the people by the government, but rights that are protected from the government. 

As a member of the United States Air Force, I took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States, as do all American servicemembers. It is an oath that is special because no matter what background I come from, what my beliefs are or the color of my skin, the Constitution protects me. It protects me from being persecuted, from being discriminated and it unifies me with the rest of the diverse population of the United States. Fortunately you don't have to be a servicemember to help protect the Constitution. It's a lot simpler: vote. 

In 1947 the 22nd Amendment was ratified, limiting U.S. presidents to two 4 year term limits, a precedent that George Washington set. As President George Bush's term ends, it is time to vote in a new president. In November no matter what your political beliefs are, vote for a candidate that holds true to the Constitution and upholds its principles.