Fire stations in St. George to ring bells marking U.S. Constitution Week

Public domain image courtesy of U.S. Air Force, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — To promote the 64th anniversary of U.S. Constitution Week, which takes place annually from Sept. 17-23, the Daughters of the American Revolution Color Country Chapter has arranged for all St. George fire stations to ring their alarm bells at precisely 4 p.m. Tuesday, the exact date and time when the town crier read the U.S. Constitution aloud to the colonists for the very first time.

Daughters of the American Revolution Color Country Chapter members at the American Legion Building in St. George, Utah, hold U.S. Constitution Week proclamations received from mayors of local cities, including Hurricane, Ivins, LaVerkin, Leeds, Santa Clara, St George, Toquerville and Washington, Sept 10, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Valerie King, St. George News

Additionally, proclamations from eight local city mayors have been obtained, each declaring to observe U.S. Constitution Week in their respective municipalities, and a signed proclamation from Congressman Chris Stewart is also on its way from Washington, D.C. These are in addition to the many other proclamations that have been secured by other chapters throughout the state of Utah, including one signed by Gov. Gary Herbert.

While Independence Day is widely known among U.S. citizens, the DAR Color Country Chapter said in a press release that they believe not as many people are familiar with U.S. Constitution Week, how it came about and why it is observed.

Central to the commemoration is the document itself. The U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, setting forth the framework for a federal government.

American colonists fought, sacrificed and died to establish and preserve the freedoms now guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. This is why the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution felt so strongly that this living, governing document should be annually remembered, observed and celebrated.

In 1955, the society’s past President General Gertrude S. Carraway designated Sept. 17-23 as U.S. Constitution Week in the form of a resolution adopted by the organization on April 21, 1955.

Members of the U.S. Congress were given this resolution, and on June 7, 1955, the resolution was discussed in the Senate. The first resolution to observe U.S. Constitution Week was made June 14, 1955, by California Sen. William F. Knowland. Congress adopted the resolution, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law No. 915 on Aug. 2, 1956, thus officially designating Sept. 17-23 as U.S. Constitution Week. This year marks the 64th anniversary of its observance.

According to the press release, commemoration goals are threefold from the DAR’s perspective:

  • Encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
  • Inform people that the Constitution is the basis of America’s great heritage and the foundation of our way of life.
  • Emphasize U.S. citizens’ responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution.

Besides the proclamations, the DAR Color Country Chapter has also supplied educational materials for use in classrooms during U.S. Constitution Week and have placed historical displays at three local libraries. Additionally, throughout U.S. Constitution Week, Canyon Media radio stations will be providing public service announcements, so tune in to learn some interesting facts about the famous governing document and its amendments.

14 facts about some of the U.S. Constitution’s signers

  • James Wilson of Delaware made the second most speeches – 168.
  • Gouverneur Morris representing Pennsylvania made the most speeches at 173.
  • Gunning Bedford of Delaware was the largest man at the Constitutional Convention.
  • Delegate John Dickinson of Delaware had been governor of Delaware and Pennsylvania at the same for a short period of time.
  • George Read of Delaware signed the Constitution twice, once for himself and once for his friend John Dickinson who had to leave the convention early due to exhaustion.
  • Robert Morris of Pennsylvania spent a million dollars of his own money to finance the battle of Yorktown. He ended up in “Prune Street” debtor’s prison for 3 1/2 years when he couldn’t pay the taxes on his vast land holdings.
  • William Patterson of New Jersey wanted the senators to be elected by the people, but the Constitution stipulated that they were to be selected by the state legislatures. He is known as “the Father of the United States Senate.” He introduced the “New Jersey Plan,” which favored the small states. As a young lawyer, he used to stay up half the night after a long day of work composing love letters to Cornelia Bell. They later married.
  • David Brearley suggested that they redo all state boundaries making the 13 states equal in size.
  • Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, at 26 years old, was the youngest delegate.
  • Roger Sherman from Connecticut was known as “Mr. Compromise.” He supported the Connecticut Compromise, which initially settled the big states – little states arguments over representation.
  • Daniel Carroll of Maryland and Thomas Fitzsimons of Pennsylvania were the only two Catholic delegates at the convention. Carroll helped write the First and Tenth Amendments.
  • John Rutledge of South Carolina named his 10th child “States” Rutledge. He helped pass the idea of the supremacy of federal laws over state laws in matters affecting the nation as a whole.
  • Pierce Butler of South Carolina was on the committee that created the Electoral College. Many think it was his original idea.
  • Charles Pinckney of South Carolina was another young delegate at 29, but his age didn’t keep him from speaking up. He made over 100 speeches and presented a “Pinckney Plan” to other delegates, which included a single national leader called a president and a two-house Congress.

For additional information about DAR and its programs, go to the National DAR website or Utah DAR.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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