Honoring Constitution Day

In 1955, the President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution adopted a project to promote the observance of the U.S. Constitution with a memorial week beginning on the anniversary of the document’s signing, Sept. 17, 1787.

President Dwight Eisenhower officially declared Constitution Week in 1956, the culmination of a DAR proposal sent through Sen. William Knowland of California.

The DAR also began the tradition of the “Ringing of the Bells” across our nation in remembrance of the signing. This year, through a generous grant from the Southern Women’s Committee of Fifty, the resources of American Village and the cooperation of the Shelby County Board of Education, the Constitution came alive for local fifth graders this past September.

Each student learned about the Constitution in his or her classroom and through field trips to American Village.

The David Lindsay Chapter of the DAR, meanwhile, began a countywide awareness project through proclamations every mayor and principal signed. Bells also rang out across the county at 3 p.m.

Three students from Elvin Hill Elementary shared of their educational experience.

“I learned that you cannot be tried twice for a crime,” said Whitney Parnell. “To me, the most important right is freedom of speech, to speak what we feel. I also learned that one of the most important things to George Washington was to be sure of equal representation of small states with big states.”

Tyler McName enjoyed the courthouse at the American Village where he heard John Adams speak to him.

“The right to bear arms and to be able to protect yourself is the most important right to me,” said McName.

Caleb Crim learned much from Patrick Henry meeting with his class.

“Freedom of religion is the most important right to me,” said Crim. “Also no search without a warrant.”

When asked if they thought next year’s fifth graders should be able to experience the Constitution as they did, they all unanimously said, “YES!”

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by e–mail at phoeberobinson@bellsouth.net.