While working as a country lawyer in Wewoka, Oklahoma, attorney Hicks Epton decided that lawyers should help educate the public about the law in general, and the rights and liberties provided under the law to our citizens. This established the roots of Law Day, celebrated on May 1 each year all over our nation, and designated as such by a joint resolution of Congress in 1961.
Thomas Jefferson warned us that we could be free or ignorant, but not both. Ignorant does not mean stupid, but is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as A.) lacking knowledge or education B.) not knowing - unaware.
Each year there is a “Law Day” theme and events to educate the public about our rights and responsibilities under the law. This year’s theme is “Democracy and You.”
This theme focuses on our individual responsibility to educate ourselves about the rule of law in a democracy. Its role is to foster respect, and preserve the dignity, equality and human rights of all persons.
It has been said that democracy is not a spectator sport, but needs citizen involvement to promote the common good. We should also educate our young people so they will understand the importance of actively participating by seeking truth and by voting.
It is sometimes difficult in today’s tech world to determine truth from misinformation; however, we must seek knowledge of the issues confronting us as citizens. We should encourage open and honest debate, and respect for differing opinions. We should also be grateful for the rule of law and our system of government that preserves our free society.