By Dave Russell
Freedom will ring from First United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. Friday to mark Constitution Day.
Sylva’s town board voted unanimously at last Thursday’s meeting to mark Constitution Week, beginning Sept. 17 with Constitution Day, and lasting through Sept. 23.
Cullowhee resident Mardy Ashe, a member of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and retired Western Carolina University director of career services, spoke to the board about the week and the DAR.
“Our three major tenants of DAR are celebrating patriotism, education and historic preservation,” Ashe said. “As such, one of our most important dates of the year is Sept. 17, Constitution Day and the week of Sept. 17-23, Constitution Week, which honors the writing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.”
In the pre-COVID era, the events were marked with mayoral proclamations and the ringing of church bells at 4 p.m., the time the signing of the Constitution was completed, she said.
It was also a time for the DAR to take their message to classrooms to talk about colonial life and the need for the Revolution and the need for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
Classroom visits are out, but the group seeks mayoral proclamations and the ringing of the bells, she said.
Ashe sent a document to the town stating the town recognizes the Constitution in its 234th year.
“This document states that we hope that all citizens are encouraged to reaffirm these ideals by protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us by (the Constitution),” she said.
In 1955, DAR 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 law on Aug. 2, 1956, by President Dwight Eisenhower.
The aims of the Constitution Week celebration are to:
• Emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution.
• Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for the U.S. way of life.
• Encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.