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GUEST OPINION: Don’t overlook the gifts of freedom on Dec. 15 holiday

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By KEN PAULSON
First Amendment Center
The law is murky, but probably not.

It’s easy to take freedom for granted. If we’re complacent about our core liberties, we’re less likely to notice a gradual erosion.

The best way to build awareness of our core freedoms is through education. That’s why the announcement of the nation’s first monument to the Bill of Rights comes as particularly good news.

Chris Bliss, a writer and comedian who oversees MyBillofRights.org, a nonpartisan foundation supporting the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, has raised the money and paved the way for the new monument in Phoenix, across from the state capitol. Dedication is set for Dec. 15, often-overlooked Bill of Rights Day.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced this new national holiday, but the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II took all of the momentum out of the commemoration.

MyBillofRights.org, along with the First Amendment Center, Newseum, Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation and the American Society of News Editors, are among the voices calling for greater visibility and respect for this historic day, the Bill of Rights’ birthday.

Bliss’ project is an inspiring and long-term way to remind adults and schoolchildren of the foundational role of the Bill of Rights in our democracy.

The monument was designed and sculpted by Joseph Kincannon of Austin, Texas, and includes a series of 10 limestone models representing the amendments. You can find more information at MyBillofRights.org.

Ken Paulson is president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C. Previously, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today.