The National Constitution Center, a non-profit Philadelphia museum and organization “devoted to the U.S. Constitution and its legacy of freedom,” is presenting a series of special programs to celebrate the upcoming 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. In order to encourage the participation of all Americans, even those at home in front of their computers, one of these special programs allows Americans to simply sign the Constitution in the comfort of their own home all year long. Click here to sign the National Constitution Center's commemorative Constitution yourself.
The finale of these great events is the presentation of the 2012 Liberty Medal on September 13th at 7:00 pm. On its website, the National Constitution Center states that “the Liberty Medal is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.” It’s no wonder that they chose to honor the great Muhammad Ali this year. The Center’s website states that Ali is receiving this award because he represents the American dream and “has long stood for the ideals of our founding document.”
Due to the color of his skin, Ali faced discrimination much of his early life. During the Vietnam War, he refused to be inducted into the United States Armed Forces, citing religious reasons. He was convicted of evading the draft and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, where he would no longer be able to box. Though Ali was not afraid of serving time for his beliefs, his case was appealed and he was able to return to boxing in 1970.
As a heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist, Ali has long been a role model for underprivileged youth. He has used his fame to promote civil rights for all Americans, as well as fighting for liberty for oppressed people in countries across the globe. As the National Constitution Center’s website states, “Ali has devoted his life to humanitarian causes, fighting for world peace, equal rights, religious liberty, hunger relief, and cross-cultural understanding.”
As the Liberty Medal recipient, Ali follows in the footsteps of some great leaders, including Tony Blair, George H.W Bush, William J. Clinton, Sandra Day O’Connor, Thurgood Marshall and Jimmy Carter.
Photo: Courtesy of National Constitution Center