Editorial: Our Constitution
Wilton Congregational Church will ring its bells 39 times at 4 p.m. this afternoon, representing the signing of the U.S. Constitution and the 39 men who put their names to it.
Today begins Constitution Week, offering us an opportunity to reflect on this American icon of freedom.
The official observance was signed into law on Aug. 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, after the Daughters of the American Revolution petitioned Congress the previous year to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated to the observance of Constitution Week.
“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 DAR says.
The celebration is intended to:
- Remind us it is up to us to protect and defend our Constitution;
- Spread the word about the foundation for our way of life;
- Encourage people to learn of the events that led to its signing on Sept. 17, 1787.
Our Constitution makes plain our method of self-government — We The People — that revolutionary idea of self-rule that led to the American Revolution itself. But it is not a relic of the 18th Century. It is a living document as evidenced by the 27 amendments that have been ratified since its adoption that reflect our changing values and sensibilities. But its foundation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has never been compromised.
Constitution Week is not the only tribute to that document by the DAR. In 1928 the organization 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 one of the few structures 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 more than 180,000 members with approximately 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. Wilton is served by the Drum Hill chapter. For more information about DAR and its programs visit drumhilldar.org.