Chattanooga’s Chickamauga Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the city’s first Chapter, organized Oct. 7, 1894, continues to annually promote public activities in observance of the U.S. Constitution, the foundational document of our national governance, fulling DAR’s goals of Education, Historic Preservation and Patriotism.
This year’s educational outreach, led by the Chapter’s Constitution Week Chairman Trish Mullins, encompassed a variety of diverse events. Many Chapter members contributed to the week’s work including Chapter Regent Gayle Burrows. Each event featured educational materials for distribution: U.S. Constitution booklets, personalized flags, Preamble to the Constitution bookmarks, Constitution coloring pages for students as well as life-sized cutouts of founding fathers – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison. The Chapter’s Local Schools committee, chaired by Chapter Vice Regent Cindy Dearing, distributed 30 Constitution Week posters to each school with which the Chapter interacts. More than 500 pocket Constitution booklets, 400 flags, 500 Constitution bookmarks and 150 Constitution coloring pages were distributed by the Chapter during the week’s activities.
A program on the Constitution focusing on the Three Branches of Government was presented to Boy Scout Troop 223 in Hixson by Mrs. Mullins on Sept. 9.
Sept. 14 saw the installation of a large teaching display at the Chattanooga Public Library. Parts of this display were given to the library for use in teaching Civics as part of upcoming library programs.
Chapter members used a display featuring Ben Franklin at Chatta-Cakes and supplied Constitution materials for customers and children on Sept. 15.
Sept. 17, Constitution Day, was celebrated with another large display at the Medal of Honor Heritage Center. Activities included “Ringing of the Bells” to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Steve Howell, district director for U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, was joined by students from the Webb School in Tennessee who listened as the Proclamation for Constitution Week from the Congressman was read. Local students took part in another “Bell Ringing” led by the Chapter at the downtown library.
Chapter members continued their outreach at the Saturday River Market downtown on Sept. 18 as they distributed flags, pocket Constitutions and bookmarks to the public.
The UTC Constitution Lecture Series on Monday, Sept. 19, was the site of another Constitution Week installation where student attendees were given pocket Constitutions and commemorative bookmarks.
“There are two documents of paramount importance to American history: the Declaration of Independence, which forged our national identity, and the United States Constitution, which set forth the framework for the federal government that functions to this day,” said DAR President General Denise Doring VanBuren. “While Independence Day is a well-recognized and beloved national holiday, fewer people know about Constitution Week, an annual commemoration of the living document that upholds and protects the freedoms central to our American way of life.”
The DAR initiated the observance in 1955, when the service organization petitioned the U.S. Congress to dedicate Sept. 17–23 of each year to the commemoration of Constitution Week. Congress adopted the resolution, and on Aug. 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into Public Law #915. Officials said the celebration’s goals are threefold: to encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787; to remind the public that the Constitution is the basis of America’s great heritage and the foundation for its way of life; and to emphasize U.S. citizens’ responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the U.S. Constitution.
DAR has been the foremost advocate for the awareness, promotion, and celebration of Constitution Week. The annual observance provides innumerable opportunities for educational initiatives and community outreach, two mission areas of importance to the National Society. By fostering knowledge of, and appreciation for, the Constitution and the inalienable rights it affords to all Americans, DAR helps to keep alive the memory of the people who secured the nation’s foundational liberties.
"In communities across America, Daughters erected hundreds of community displays, sponsored municipal proclamations, rang bells and staged programs to raise awareness of the Constitution’s tenets and importance," said Ms. VanBuren. "NSDAR members invited everyone to join in celebrating this powerful document, which has enabled our democracy within a republic for more than two centuries. We hope that all Americans will learn more about the Constitution and its immense impact on our nation."
One of the largest patriotic women’s organizations in the world, DAR has more than 190,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the country and several foreign countries. DAR members promote historic preservation, education and patriotism via commemorative events, scholarships and educational initiatives, citizenship programs, service to veterans, meaningful community service and more. For more information about DAR and its relevant mission, visit www.dar.org.