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Constitution Day: Freedom rings out in Pitt County

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Zoe Gaines, 6, pretends to read the Constitution of the United States. She was not one of the ones who read aloud, but she did help sing the Preamble to the Consitution. Matthew Shirley 7, stands beside her dressed as a patriot. Tuesday, which was Constitution Day, a group of 156 home-schooled assembled on the Pitt County Courthouse steps to read the Consitution .

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Deborah Griffin
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

From children singing to bells ringing, the sounds of freedom rang out in Pitt County on Tuesday.

The cause for celebration was Constitution Day, the first day of Constitution Week. This year is the 232nd anniversary of the historical document.

On Tuesday morning, 156 homeschooled students assembled on the steps of the Pitt County Courthouse to mark the occasion. They began by singing the Preamble to the United States Constitution and ended by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in unison.

In between, children’s laugher and play intermingled with the sounds of older students reading portions from the Constitution.

Later in the day, the Susanna Coutanch Evans Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a bell-ringing at Sheppard Memorial Library to mark Constitution Day and honor woman’s suffrage.

The DAR is responsible for the federal recognition of Constitution Week. In 1955, members petitioned Congress to dedicate September 17-23 of each year to the commemoration of the document.

September 17 was chosen as Constitution Day because 30 of the 41 delegates from the 13 states under the Article of Confederation signed the document in 1787 during a constitutional convention convened by Congress. It later was ratified by all 13 states after the inclusion of the Bill of Rights.

Students who gathered at the courthouse steps are part of three separate communities that use the Classical Conversations home school curriculum in Greenville.

“We wanted to come together on this,” co-coordinator Amanda Brewington said.

She said they planned the event because it would give children an educational experience and teach them about their heritage. They went to the Pitt County Courthouse "because it is a place that upholds the Constitution," Brewington said.

“This document is a living, breathing document that protects our rights and freedoms. We want our children to understand that,” she said.

“The first amendment protects freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Many of us home school for religious reasons,” Brewington said. “Our goal is to provide an eduction with God in the center, so our children will know God and make Him known.”

She said that even though there is not specific language that protects home schooling, it is understood because of the freedoms that are protected are outlined in the document.

Brewington said families involved with Classical Conversations are a diverse group that come from a many different backgrounds and a variety of political viewpoints.

At Sheppard Memorial Library, the Daughters of the American Revolution joined other DAR groups across the United States and the world in ringing bells.

“The ringing of bells is a national event — anywhere there is a DAR chapter," said Louann Haddock of the Susanna Coutanch Evans DAR. "There are 10 to 12 foreign countries with DAR chapters.”

This week the DAR will be celebrating Constitution Week in other ways, such as going to Pitt County schools and reading books about the county's freedoms to fifth graders.

Constitution Week runs through Monday.

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