Celebrate Constitution with contest, concert, McCullough

On Monday, Sept. 17, we mark the 225th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution – the foundation, along with the Declaration of Independence, of the American republic.

Of this remarkable and most significant document, William R. Gladstone, four-time British Prime Minister, said, “The American Constitution is the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

Considering the Constitution’s vital function in preserving the blessings secured by the Founding Generation, responsible citizens can and should gain a better understanding of both the history of its development and a clearer sense of its role in our lives as Americans in 2012. Online resources include:

Additionally, Utahns will have many opportunities, especially over the next week, to participate in events commemorating the completion of the drafting of the Constitution.

  • TODAY: Friday afternoon, Sept. 14, Senator Mike Lee will host the first annual “Constitution Bowl,” a competition format based on the game show “Jeopardy!” that will feature teams of students from four local youth councils including Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights, North Salt Lake, and West Point. Senator Lee will moderate the event and ask the “answers” along with Utah Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart and Murray Mayor Dan Snarr. The event will be held at the Sheraton City Center in Salt Lake City at 1:30 p.m.
  • TODAY: A Freedom Foundation Concert on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. This is a concert commemorating the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution with music by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra and a message by Lloyd Newell. The concert is free and no tickets are required to attend the event, which is sponsored by the Utah Chapter of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
  • A commemorative banquet, hosted by the Utah Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Fort Douglas Country Club on the University of Utah Campus. Guest speaker will be Tim Ballard, author of the book, The Covenant – One Nation Under God. Those interested to participate must make reservations by Friday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m., by clicking the “register” button in the above link.
  • Utah Valley University’s new Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS) will be hosting several events during Constitution Week, beginning with a Constitution Day Program on Monday evening, Sept. 17, from 6-8 p.m., in the UCCU Events Center. With a keynote address by David McCullough, “The Genius of the Founders,” the program will include performances by the UVU Vocal Jazz Octet and Symphony Orchestra. McCullough is the internationally respected historian and author of 1776, John Adams, and The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. Admission is free and tickets are available at the UCCU Events Center, Campus Connection, and CCS in Suite 305 of the library.

And if you’re looking for good reasons as to why parents, in particular, should take time to celebrate this anniversary, learn more about the history and significance of the Constitution, and share what they learn with their children – consider the insights of these respected Americans:

“Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.” — Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress, 1782-1783

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” — Ronald Reagan