There are two documents of paramount importance in American history.

One is the Declaration of Independence, which forged our national identity, and the other is the U.S. Constitution, which set forth the framework for today’s federal government.

Few know about Constitution Week, an annual commemoration of the living document that upholds and protects the freedoms central to our American way of life. This year’s observance begins Sept. 17.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) initiated Constitution Week in 1955, when the organization petitioned Congress to designate it for Sept. 17-23 each year. Congress adopted a resolution making this designation and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law on Aug. 2, 1956.

The celebration’s goals are to 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; and emphasize responsibility of U.S. citizens to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution.

The DAR has been the foremost advocate for the awareness, promotion and celebration of Constitution Week. It provides innumerable opportunities for educational initiatives and community outreach, two areas of crucial importance to the DAR’s work. By fostering knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution and the inalienable rights it affords to all Americans, the DAR helps to keep alive the memory of the men and women who secured our nation’s independence and whose bravery and sacrifice made possible the liberties we enjoy today.

“The framers created a Constitution that translated into law the ideals upon which our nation was built,” said DAR President General Denise Doring VanBuren. “Their vision was so forward thinking that their words still guide us today. No American history education can be complete without a thorough understanding of the impact the Constitution has had on the lives of Americans past and present.”

One of the largest patriotic women’s organizations in the world, DAR has more than 185,000 members in about 3,000 chapters across the U.S. and foreign nations. It strives to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism via commemorative events, scholarships, educational initiatives, citizenship programs, service to veterans, meaningful community service and more. More details are at www.dar.org.

RENDEZVOUS MTN. CHAPTER, DAR,

LYN JONES, REGENT,

Wilkesboro, N.C.

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