September 15, 2012 10:14:40 PM
The words are familiar. "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union ... "
The preamble, and the Constitution of the United States it precedes, were written 225 years ago. Beginning Monday, Americans will mark the anniversary by celebrating Constitution Week Sept. 17-23. Events around the country will commemorate the signing, on Sept. 17, 1787, of the landmark document at America's foundation.
The Constitution Week observance was initiated 57 years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution, a patriotic organization that encourages education and historic preservation in communities throughout the country.
The late Gertrude Carraway of North Carolina, while president general of the National Society of the DAR, was a vital catalyst in getting the U.S. Congress to designate Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week. She was no stranger to Columbus. Local Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha DAR Chapter scrapbooks contain several Commercial Dispatch articles mentioning her visits to the city, where Mississippi Society of the DAR frequently held annual meetings.
During Constitution Week, the Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha chapter will make informative presentations at several area schools, including Heritage Academy, Immanuel Christian School, New Hope schools and West Lowndes schools.
Chapter Regent Betty Wood Thomas remarked, "We're looking forward to visiting these schools to share basic and little-known information about the Constitution with the students. There will be a few surprises for them as well."
The chapter will present one of the schools with a framed Constitution Week proclamation signed by Columbus Mayor Robert Smith. The 2011 proclamation was given to West Lowndes High School.
Schools or organizations interested in presentations by the Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha chapter about the Constitution should email ColumbusDAR@gmail.com.
The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library will host a Constitution Week display prepared by the Bernard Romans Chapter of the DAR. That group has also coordinated the ringing of the St. Paul's Episcopal Church bell at 3 p.m. Monday, in support of Bells Across America. Both DAR chapters join with others nationwide in urging area churches and institutions to ring their bells at that hour (Central Time) in honor of national Constitution Day, which launch's the week's observances.
Learn more about Constitution Week at constitutionweekusa.com or dar.org/natsociety/ns-conweek.cfm.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.