The United States Constitution, written in 1787, signed by the delegates on Sept. 17, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, is now the world's longest surviving written charter of government. Its first three words –– "We the People" –– affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.
In 1956, the United States Congress declared Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and years later, Congress added a requirement that all schools and government offices provide community educational programs as a part of Constitution Week.
Citizens are invited to all area events. Among the local events planned are:
Monday, 6-7 p.m., Hamilton County Courthouse
Judge Neil Thomas, III and Linda Moss Mines, GPS History Department chair and Chattanooga-Hamilton County historian, will lead the first of four planned 'Constitutional Issues' seminars. The first seminar, Contempt of Court, examines the 1906 Ed Johnson case and takes its title from the acclaimed book by the late Chattanooga attorney Leroy Phillips and Dallas Morning News legal affairs writer, Mark Curriden. The Johnson case was the first criminal case heard on appeal by the United States Supreme Court. Join Judge Thomas and Ms. Mines as they plumb the issues surrounding this high profile case.
Tuesday, noon, Hamilton County Courthouse
Join County Mayor Jim Coppinger, Hamilton County Commission members and local citizens as they "ring the bells" celebrating constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms. Mayor Coppinger will speak briefly on the significance of the federal system and the benefits of national, state and local governments functioning in a balance of power and responsibility. Bring a bell.
Thursday, Sept. 19, 4-4:30 p.m., Chattanooga City Hall
Join students from local schools as they read aloud the Preamble to the U S Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You could be in for a treat if they decide to "Schoolhouse Rock" the Preamble. Students will assemble on the 11th Street steps of City Hall.
For more information about Constitution Week programs, email Jessica Dumitru [email@example.com], Tennessee Constitution Week Chairman, Daughters of the American Revolution.