Friday, September 14, 2012

TOP STORY >> DAR kicks off Constitution Week

Monday marks the start of the national celebration of Constitution Week, a tradition started by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1956.

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher signed a proclamation Tuesday to promote Sept.17-23 as Constitution Week.

On hand for the event were members of the Major Jacob Gray DAR chapter including the club’s Constitution Week chairwoman Mary Ford, vice regent Eleanor Swineford, member Mary Lee Schultz, who also serves as Arkansas DAR honorary state regent; and member Junelle Mongno, who is also the DAR state historian.

The week long commemoration of America’s most important document may be one of the country’s least known official observances.

The U.S. 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, according to a DAR news release.

In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was signed into law on Aug. 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The celebration emphasizes citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution and preserving it for posterity; informing the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life, and encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

The Constitution is the oldest document still in active use that outlines the self-government of a people.

The 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.

“We must remember and teach that those who wrote the Constitution believed that no government can create freedom, but that government must guard freedom rather than encroach upon the freedoms of its people,” said Merry Ann T. Wright, president general of the DAR.

“The Constitution by itself cannot guarantee liberty. A nation’s people can remain free only by being responsible citizens who are willing to learn about the rights of each arm of government and require that each is accountable for its own function. Therefore, Constitution Week is the perfect opportunity to read and study this great document, which is the safeguard of our American liberties,” Wright said.

“We encourage all citizens across the country to take time this week to guard that which is committed to us by our forefathers...our freedom," Wright said.

The DAR has served America for 122 years as its foremost cheerleader. In 1928, the DAR 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.

The group is the largest women’s patriotic organization in the world.

It promotes patriotism through commemorative celebrations, memorials, scholarships and activities for children, and programs for new immigrants. For more information about DAR and its programs, visit or call 202-628-1776.