Exploring Resources and Celebrating Constitution Week

Written by: Louise Bell Devanny, National Chair, Constitution Week Committee
September 15, 2015

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This hallowed ground was a stark reminder of battles our ancestors fought and how today’s events remind us of the courage it takes to keep, protect and defend our Constitution.  This September 17 marks the 228th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution and the 60th Anniversary of Constitution Week!

The work of the Constitution Week Committee is to sponsor special programs during the week of September 17-23 to inform and educate members and the public about the United States Constitution. Constitution Week activities emphasize the responsibilities of learning about, protecting, defending and preserving the Constitution, while also studying the historical events that occurred during September 1787.

The Constitution Week Committee has been hard at work this year coming up with new and creative ideas to celebrate the importance of the Constitution during Constitution Week. There are many resources to explore on line. For instance, if you have the opportunity you can go to Discovery Channel's Virtual Tour of the Constitution Center which will be on September 17th this year. Teachers for all age groups can register to watch in the classroom:
http://www.discoveryeducation.com/Live/constitution-day-2015.cfm

The Constitution Week Committee has also updated the Constitution Week Toolbox with new resources for your use. Among these resources are templates for birthday cards, bookmarks, facts about the Constitution, restaurant cards and for chapter chairs, a cheat sheet and tips to make your Master Questionnaire reporting easier. Some other fun activities include-

  • Paint a Spirit Rock at a school.
  • Parade around town dressed as a Town Crier and ring a bell proclaiming Constitution Week
  • Make a 5 ft. replica of the Constitution to use as a photo-op at middle & high schools
  • Get area colleges to ring their Bell Tower Chimes at 4:00 pm EST on Constitution Day
  • Dress in colonial costumes and hand out Constitution Week materials in a mall
  • Find family-owned stores & boutiques that will let you decorate the whole store or an entire window
  • If you live near one of the rest stops on a major highway, put a display at the rest stop
  • Get a restaurant that changes menus each week to name some of their entrees for Founding Fathers
  • Go to any eatery in costume and hand out flags or even read a story
  • Find a college professor who will give extra credit if history students will read the Constitution aloud on campus
  • Meet on the Court House Square at 4:00pm EST on September 17th and ring bells
  • Have a city-wide Constitution Week Bulletin Board Contest at middle and high schools
  • If you have a local paper, ask them to print a full page Constitution Week Proclamation as a public service
  • Take part in school “Colonial Days”
  • Look around for electronic signs and see if they will announce Constitution Week

Once again, to help raise awareness of Constitution Week, the National Society sponsors a Constitution Week Poster Contest that is open to anyone in the DAR, school children and the general public. The contest is advertised by DAR members who reach out to school age children and adults in their communities to encourage participation and submission of posters to the state chapters for evaluation. This year all entries must be received by the state constitution week chair by January 15, 2016. The top two entries from each state will be sent to the division chair by February 15, 2016 and the top two winning entries from each division will be sent to the national chair by March 15, 2016. The winning poster will then be printed in the spring and offered for sale in the DAR store by next summer.

When preparing your Chapter’s events for Constitution Week be sure to check out the DAR Store for inexpensive items to be used as hand outs and remember, however you choose to celebrate, no matter what your chapter budget allows – you can’t go wrong. Thank you for all that you do to get the message of our Constitution out into the public! 

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