CEDARVILLE — The Cedar Cliff chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has been helping the Cedarville community celebrate the Constitution for the past week.
Constitution Week is Sept. 17-23 every year.
At 4:00 on the 17th — Constitution Day — fourth and fifth graders at Cedarville Elementary joined in for “Bells Across America,” ringing their own bells to celebrate the signing of the document 233 years ago. At the same time, DAR member Cindy Spracklen rang the church bell at Cedarville United Presbyterian Church 33 times.
Normally, DAR member Gayle Hartman visits classrooms to speak to students during the special week. Visitor restrictions this year changed that a little — but Hartman made sure students didn’t miss out.
Beyond providing bells for the first day of the week, Cedar Cliff DAR members came up with other lessons and activities for students of all ages.
Hartman said members prepared “Constitution Week minutes” for high school and middle schoolers. Students read a minute a day about the Constitution over the announcements and concluded with a question of the day.
“The students are allowed to hurry up to the office as soon as they can with the answer and a prize is waiting for them,” Hartman said. “That’s been a big hit. Kids enjoy doing it.”
Hartman said she’s seen support for the week not only in school, but across the village.
Mayor Tony Pergram signed a proclamation honoring the week, as did both principals.
Display boards were hung at Cedarville Community Library and in the school library as well. Hartman made patriotic book marks for students, and also put together teaching packets for fourth and fifth graders — full of coloring pages, puzzles, facts and photos of the Founding Fathers.
“Those men were ahead of their time and they should not be [forgotten],” Hartman said. “We wouldn’t be a country without them.”
High school Social Studies classes received Constitution packets, too, and businesses in Cedarville and Clifton displayed materials all week.
“The thing I really appreciate about it is everyone is so receptive — the school, the businesses, we hardly get turned down,” Hartman said. “They’re cheering us on. They want us to encourage patriotism and education and our history and that is very rewarding.”
The local DAR chapter joined other chapters across the country in similar efforts this week.
“There are two documents of paramount importance to American history: the Declaration of Independence, which forged our national identity, and the United States Constitution, which set forth the framework for the federal government that functions to this day,” said DAR President General Denise Doring VanBuren in a release. “While Independence Day is a well-recognized and beloved national holiday, fewer people know about Constitution Week, an annual commemoration of the living document that upholds and protects the freedoms central to our American way of life.”
The DAR initiated the observance in 1955, petitioning the U.S. Congress to dedicate Sept. 17-23 of each year to the commemoration of Constitution Week. Congress adopted the resolution, and on Aug. 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law.
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