Local group celebrates ‘Constitution Week’ Sept. 17 to 23

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today begins the national celebration of Constitution Week, a weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document. However, it is one of the country least know official observances.

But the Oliver Wiley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) always take time to recognize the document that is a testament to the tenacity of Americans to “maintain their liberties and freedom and to ensure those unalienable rights to every American.”

“The Constitution is the basis for our form of government and the tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the DAR,” said Carol Amos, chapter member.

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In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.

The Constitution is the oldest document still in active use that outlines the self-government of a people. The Constitution stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world and should be celebrated, not just during one week of the year but all year long, Amos said.

“The DAR has a building in Washington DC, DAR Constitution Hall, and DAR conventions are held there with all the formality of 50 to 70 years ago –women in their white gloves and hats. That’s very interesting,” Amos said.

Constitution Hall is the only structure erected in tribute to the Constitution of the United States of America.

The DAR is the largest women’s patriotic organization in the world and is the Constitution’s most vocal cheerleader.

“We do recognize the importance and value of the Constitution and celebrate it,” Amos said.

The Oliver Wiley Chapter of DAR has 36 members. To become a member, one must show ancestry to the American Revolution through her linage. .

“We are encouraged that we have several younger women who are trying to get their linage documented so they can become members,” Amos said. “We hope to bring in new members with new ideas and youthful energy.”

The Oliver Wiley Chapter sponsors the annual Good Citizen American History Award that recognizes high school seniors who exemplify good citizenship and love of country.

“Each high school selects a student as its Good Citizen from submitted essays about citizenship,” Amos said. “A judge, independent of the Oliver Wiley Chapter, selects the award winner, who is then eligible to compete in the state DAR scholarship program.”