By Chelsea Retherford
A local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution continue their efforts to ensure the teaching of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the observance of Constitution Week, across Lawrence County this year.
Members of the Stephens Chapter of the National Society of the DAR met with local librarians across the county last month to begin coordinating the public libraries’ involvement with the annual observance of Constitution Week. Libraries visited by DAR included Lawrence County Public Library in Moulton, Courtland Public Library and Town Creek Public Library.
Constitution Week, which is annually and nationally observed Sept. 17-23, commemorates the anniversary of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. This year's commemoration will mark the 234th anniversary of the drafting of our Constitution.
DAR Constitution Chair Anita Pahman said she is very pleased with displays and resources available to the public at each of the libraries in Courtland, Town Creek and Moulton this year. In August, Pahman said the Stephens Chapter also met with Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Bret Smith and school principals at a special meeting to help plan the school system’s involvement in the 2021 Constitution Week.
“We challenge the schools to teach students about this important document that has withstood the test of time,” Pahman said. “We are the only country to have a constitution to last as long as this set of rules has, and it’s the shortest constitution.”
Pahman quoted former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The United State Constitution has proven itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written,” as she explained NSDAR’s goal in education and historic preservation.
“It is ultimately up to the teachers to teach this history in their schools, and there are lots of resources. Each of the local libraires will have displays—Town Creek Public Library, in Moulton (the Lawrence County Public Library), and the Courtland Library will have books to help students,” Pahman said. “Teachers may also consult the Library of Congress or the DAR website for online resources to help them teach the Constitution in the classroom.”
NSDAR first petitioned Congress to dedicate the week of Sept. 17 annually to the observance of Constitution Week to encourage citizens to be better informed about the history of their freedoms as outlined in the Constitution.
The observance was signed into public law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Aug. 2, 1956, and in 2004, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed, which renamed Constitution Day and mandates that schools receiving federal funds be required to offer instruction on the Constitution to its students each year on Sept. 17.
Pahman and her fellow DAR sisters hope the celebration of Constitution Week, Sept. 17-22, will encourage patriotism and understanding for our nation and its history. For more information concerning Constitution Week, or for additional information on NSDAR, visit www.dar.org.