Thursday, Sept. 17, will mark the beginning of the national celebration of Constitution Week. The weeklong commemoration of America's most important document is one of America's least known official observances.
The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution later was adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law 915 on Aug. 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The celebration aims to emphasize citizens' responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution and preserving it for posterity; to inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America's heritage and the foundation for the American way of life; and to encourage the study of the historical events which 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.
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.
For information about DAR and its programs, visit www.dar.org or the local chapter website at www.uncompahgrevalleydar.org.