Guest Commentary: America celebrates its Constitution
Sept. 17, 2013, began the national celebration of Constitution Week. The week-long commemoration of America’s most important document is one of our country’s least known official observances. Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every American.
The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law #915 on Aug. 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The aims of the celebration are to:
• Emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity;
• Inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life;
• Encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
The United States of America functions as a republic under the Constitution, which is the oldest document still in active use that outlines the self-government of a people. This landmark idea that men had the inalienable right as individuals to be free and live their lives under their own governance was the impetus of the American Revolution. Today, the Constitution stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world.
“Constitution Week is the perfect opportunity to read and study this great document which is the safeguard of our American liberties,” says DAR President General, Lynn Forney Young. “We encourage all citizens across the country to take time this week to reflect on our heritage of freedom and come together to Celebrate America!”
DAR has served America for 123 years as its foremost cheerleader. In 1928, the Daughters began work on a building as a memorial to the Constitution. John Russell Pope, architect of the Jefferson Memorial, was commissioned to design the performing arts center, known as DAR Constitution Hall. Today, DAR Constitution Hall is the only structure erected in tribute to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Known as the largest women’s patriotic organization in the world, DAR has over 175,000 members with approximately 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. The DAR has long promoted patriotism through commemorative celebrations, memorials, scholarships and activities for children and programs for new immigrants. For more information about your local Drum Hill DAR chapter and its programs, visit DrumHillDAR.org.
—submitted by the Wilton DAR