ST. GEORGE — Thursday marks 233 years since the signing of the Constitution of the United States and the accompanying bell ringing that celebrated it.
Now, over two centuries later, the Color County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are inviting the public to participate in a celebratory bell-ringing of their own Thursday afternoon in commemoration of Constitution Day and the coming Constitution Week.
“The goal is to ring the bells from coast to coast,” Valerie King, regent of the Color County Chapter, told the Washington County Commission Tuesday during a presentation on Constitution Week, which runs from Sept. 17-23.
The original ringing of the bells is said to have occurred at 4 p.m., so on the east coast, the bell ringing will occur at 4 p.m. ET, which will translate to 2 p.m. in Utah. The bell ringing is a part of a wider program held by DAR nationwide called Bells Across America, though King said this year will be the first time the Color County Chapter has participated.
Parties that have committed to participate in the ball ringing include the staff of the city of St. George, the Dixie High School Junior ROTC and the Hurricane Valley Fire District.
To aid the County Commission in joining in, King brought each commissioner a cowbell to ring on Thursday at 2 p.m., though added any type of bell or ringer, such as on an individual’s phone, will do.
“So please, everyone, on Sept. 17, walk outside and take your bell and ring your bells like crazy,” King said. “We love the Constitution and what it represents.”
King’s presentation was held prior to the commission passing a resolution recognizing Constitution Week. Similar resolutions have been passed by Ivins, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Leeds Santa Clara, St. George and Washington City.
Washington County’s proclamation read in part:
“Whereas, during this Constitution Week, as citizens of the United States of America, we do reaffirm the ideals established in 1787 by the Framers of the Constitution, that is, vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of our liberties and remembering that lost rights may never be regained.”
Utah Congressman Chris Stewart and Sen. Mike Lee have also sent letters to the Color Country Chapter regarding Constitution Week, King said.
“Without the Constitution, I don’t think we’d be celebrating as a nation,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said, noting how much more popular and widely known the 4th of July is compared to Constitution Day. “I mean, this really was our founding document,” he said.
It was a point shared by King as well.
“If you say the 4th of July, everybody knows what that is,” she said. “They’re whipping out the barbecues and flipping the hamburgers and dressing red, white and blue and throwing flags up. But if you say Sept. 17, I think you’re going to get a lot of, ‘No, I don’t know what that day means.’”
People forgetting about the importance of the Constitution as the bedrock of American government and guaranteed rights worried the Daughters of the American Revolution, King said. In response, the DAR began to observe Constitution Week within the organization and eventually moved beyond that and was able to get it recognized by a Congressional resolution in 1955 and officially enacted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower a year later.
As a part of the local effort to spur observance of Constitution Week, the Color Color DAR chapter has distributed 300 Constitution Week kits to elementary school students. They also have a billboard reminding passersby about Constitution Week posted along northbound Interstate 15 between mile 5 and 6.
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