Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Modern technology is unbelievable. I never thought I would ever be celebrating my birthday with a “Virtual Birthday” party. But I did.
I just recently passed a significant birthday which is code for a birthday age ending with a “0”. I won’t say exactly which but let’s just say that my first birthday was unadorned with the Internet, FM radio, jet airplanes, cell phones, automatic gear shifts, penicillin, television, or any other modern miracle that we take for granted in today’s electronic environment. You get the idea.
Here’s how a virtual birthday celebration unfolds:
My kids who are scattered all over the continental United States knew it would be impossible for everyone to get together, so, they organized a party in which family members would participate in the comfort of their own homes, offices or dorm rooms. The celebration gets underway with everyone receiving a “party package’ in the mail a week before the birthday. The kit includes balloons, party hats, noise makers, banners and a special 1-800 telephone number to call that instantly hooks up with all of the partygoers who have been invited to dial the same number.
Through the miracle of the electronic age, we were all able to talk directly with each other and enjoy the celebratory moment together rather than through many individual phone calls throughout the day. As part of the celebration, the children invited several neighbors to the “party” in our home, so we had a live as well as a “virtual” crowd in attendance for a birthday I will always treasure.
Each participating partygoer told tales of their experiences with me as a husband, father, grandfather, brother, father-in-law, uncle and neighbor. I will cherish their stories.
We spoke together for over a half hour and the conversation ended with the singing of “Happy Birthday” with participants both live and an on-line joining in. It was certainly unique and unlike any other birthday observance I had ever attended.
To add a final extra touch to the occasion, the kids had made arrangements for a complete catered meal to be brought to our dining room and served for the enjoyment of those physically present. My wife had ordered a custom-made cake from a lady in the church. She carefully prepared a coconut and pineapple cake that has always been my favorite. It was delivered to our home by a close family friend.
Perhaps “virtual” parties are commonplace in this modern world but I had never heard of it. To be sure, it was a fabulous gift and occasion that will always remain close to my old heart!
Advancing age causes me to ponder: Do they have “virtual” funerals? According to some of my readers, that would be the only way to get a crowd together for my final rites.
A MORE IMPORTANT BIRTHDAY
Another, but more important birthday is being celebrated this week. Monday marked the 225th birthday of our U.S. Constitution — a document that changed the historical view of government.
On September 17, 1787, this ground-breaking document was signed by patriots who had recently led this nation in a successful rebellion against Mother England and set the standard for a new ideal in human government predicated solidly on individual liberty.
The Constitution was (and is) more than a mere document. It was a new idea. It established an ideal that would propel this nation toward becoming the most powerful society on the face of the globe. Our new society would show the world what unleashing individual freedoms, unencumbered by excessive government interference, could and would accomplish for mankind.
But, alas, there are always those who would tamper with success and disregard the established ideals. Some constantly want to improve on the near perfect successes of the forefathers’ unique idea. Although the Constitution clearly sets out the boundaries of the three branches of government, the judicial and executive branches are dramatically changing by court decisions and presidential order, the fundamental and essential elements of separation of powers that have proved so successful through the years. At the same times there are those who would pile additional burdens on the individual freedoms we have heretofore held so dear to our hearts.
As we observe the Constitution’s birthday this week, it’s time to take a serious look at the founding principles and consider what course of action we need to take to ensure that our children will enjoy the same liberties set out in this historic document.
Ladies of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) are doing their part with their emphasis on the 225th year of our Constitution. They arranged a mayoral declaration by the City of Georgetown designating this week as “U.S. Constitution Week” and will have various programs and a display at the local Library commemorating the occasion.
Happy Birthday, U.S. Constitution!
John Brock is a retired college professor and newspaper editor/publisher who lives in Georgetown County. He can be reached at this newspaper by mail or by Email: email@example.com. His website is www.SouthernObserver.com.