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WNC celebrates Constitution Week

By Kristin Fox

This week marks the 236 anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America, our country’s most important document. The local governments of Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties joined the state and nation in declaring September 17-23 as Constitution Week. 

This week is recognized as an opportunity for Americans to commemorate the Constitution’s history, importance, and meaning. The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms and inalienable rights. 

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.

On that day, 39 delegates of the Constitutional Convention gathered in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, to sign what would become the Constitution of the United States of America.

This celebration of the Constitution was started by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, DAR petitioned Congress to set aside one week in September 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 on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The aims of the Constitution Week celebration are to:

  • Emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution.
  • Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life.
  • Encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

Constitution Week is a great time to learn more about this important document and celebrate the freedoms it gave us. The perfect place to start is a visit to the historical landmarks featuring the United States’ Charters of Freedom documents located in Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties.

Several years ago, each county was gifted the Charters of Freedom memorials by Foundation Forward, Inc. The three-part Charters of Freedom settings consist of life-size replicas of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.

Foundation Forward, Inc. is an educational non-profit that installs life-size replicas of the Charters of Freedom in communities across America. 

The organization’s mission is to teach and preserve American history and civics, so all will know how our government is meant to serve and protect We the People.

The nonprofit was founded by Vance and Mary Jo Patterson after a trip to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., inspired them to make these incredible pieces of America’s history available for all citizens even if they can’t make the trip to the U.S. capital.

The first Charters of Freedom documents were constructed in North Carolina. The movement has spread with the construction of Charters of Freedom documents all over the country.

The Charters of Freedom memorials can be viewed in Macon County at 5 West Main Street in front of the Macon County Courthouse; in Jackson County at 86 Mark Watson Park; and in Swain County at 50 Main Street, Bryson City just outside the Swain County Administration Building.

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