I’ve come across something that I thought I’d share. In November 1963, President Kennedy filmed a short message that was to be aired in movie theaters on Bill of Rights Day. Sadly, he was killed before that, and the film was never shown. Here is a transcript of what he said:
I am grateful to the Motion Picture industry for this opportunity to remind you of a most important day in our lives: December 15th is Bill of Rights Day.
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the American Constitution. After the Constitution was written, it was felt that the while this was an extraordinary document, it did not provide the kind of guarantees for our individual liberties that a free country required. And therefore under the leadership of James Madison, the first ten amendments were adopted to the Constitution. We call them the Bill of Rights.
Because of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, because of the Bill of Rights, we are guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right of assembly and petition, the right of trial by jury, the right to be secure in one’s home, the protection of due process of law and private property and public trials, and many other things that perhaps we take for granted which are guarantied in the United States Constitution.
So December 15th is an important day. The Bill of Rights is vital in our lives. Even though the parchment of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights is old and fading in the Archives Building here in Washington, nevertheless this document, the Bill of Rights, has meaning in all of our lives everyday. We owe a good deal to it. I think it is appropriate that we be reminded of our blessings and those who made them possible. Remind our children of what a great country we have, how much it has been through, what it means to them; remind our servicemen, one million of them who serve overseas, that they do not defend merely a piece of geography but also a way of life expressed in the American Constitution, expressed in the Bill of Rights, expressed in the freedoms that we all enjoy.