September 17, 2020, begins the national celebration of Constitution Week. The weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document is one of our country’s least known official observances. Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every American.
The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law #915 on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The aims of the celebration are to (1) emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; (2) inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life; and (3) encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
The United States of America functions as a Republic under the Constitution, which is the oldest document still in active use that outlines the self-government of a people. This landmark idea that men had the inalienable right as individuals to be free and live their lives under their own governance was the impetus of the American Revolution. Today, the Constitution stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world. Constitution Week is the perfect opportunity to read and study this great document which is the safeguard of our American liberties. Imagine creating a document that governs your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren! That’s what the men of the 1787 Constitution convention did.
Judith Henson chairs the Constitution Week Committee of Urbana Chapter, DAR.