By Dave Russell
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.
Mardy Ashe, a Sylva resident and member of the Battle of Sugartown Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution based in Franklin, addressed the board ahead of the proclamation.
Ashe sent a document to the town requesting the town recognize the Constitution in its 235th year.
In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week, she told the board. 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.
Lacking a DAR chapter in Sylva, Ashe and other residents are members of the Franklin chapter.
“Our chapter serves other mountain communities, Sylva is one, Franklin is one,” Ashe said in a followup interview. “We do have Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Jackson County.”
In past years the DAR marked the occasion by ringing church bells.
“We try to do it every year to celebrate the meaning of the Constitution and the fact that it was written and signed on the 17th,” Ashe said. “This year we will mark the occasion by ringing bells in Franklin in front of the courthouse.”
Franklin has a Charters of Freedom display similar to Sylva’s installation at Mark Watson Park.
The DAR will make freedom ring at 4 p.m. Saturday to mark Constitution Day.
“We decided to get some hand bells as well as the church bells in Franklin,” Ashe said. “We’d like to see a crowd. It lets people who might have that Revolutionary War heritage connect with us. We’d love that.”
For more information about the DAR, contact Ashe at 508-2266.