DAR promotes Constitution Week: September 17 – 23
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution urges Americans to reflect on the United States Constitution during this month’s annual observance in honor of this foundational document of national governance.
The United States Constitution is one of two documents of paramount importance to American history, the second being the Declaration of Independence, which forged our national identity.
The Constitution, which set forth the framework for the federal government that functions to this day, was crafted by 70 delegates appointed to serve at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia. Out of those appointees, only 55 attended. Forty of the 55 attendees had served in the Continental and/or Confederation Congresses at some point in their careers.
The convention debated competing proposals from May to July 1787, before turning over plans to a Grand Committee to hash out an agreement. The committee’s report, dubbed the Great Compromise, ironed out many contentious points. It prescribed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the House and equal state representation in the Senate.
After two more months of intense debates and revisions, the delegates produced the document we now know as the Constitution, which expanded the power of the central government while protecting the prerogatives of the states. A total of 39 delegates signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. By June 1788, the requisite nine states had ratified the Constitution as the law of the land, and the Confederation Congress announced that the new government would begin in March 1789.
The DAR initiated the observance of Constitution Week in 1955, when the service organization petitioned the U.S. Congress to dedicate September 17–23 of each year to the commemoration of Constitution Week. Congress adopted the resolution, and on August 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into Public Law #915.
DAR has been the foremost advocate for the awareness, promotion and celebration of Constitution Week. The annual observance provides innumerable opportunities for educational initiatives and community outreach, two mission areas of crucial importance to the National Society. By fostering knowledge of, and appreciation for, the Constitution and the inalienable rights it affords to all Americans, DAR helps to keep alive the memory of the men and women who secured our nation’s foundational liberties.
DAR Constitution Hall is located at 1776 D Street in Washington, D.C. The inscription on the pediment reads, “Constitution Hall – a memorial to that immortal document, the Constitution of the United States, in which are incorporated the principles of freedom, equality and justice for which our forefathers strove.” DAR Constitution Hall is the only structure dedicated to the U.S. Constitution and has recently had a multi-million-dollar restoration, making it a world-class performing arts venue.
One of the largest patriotic women’s organizations in the world, DAR has more than 190,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters across the country and several foreign countries. DAR members promote historic preservation, education and patriotism via commemorative events, scholarships and educational initiatives, citizenship programs, service to veterans, meaningful community service and more. For additional information about DAR and its relevant mission, visit www.dar.org. For information about the local chapter, contact Margaret Hines at 540-864-8447.
- Submitted by Craig Valley DAR