Clark County commemorates Constitution Day

Published 9:30 am Thursday, September 21, 2023

In 1955, after the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) petitioned the United States Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 for the observance of Constitution Week, then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law following approval of a resolution.

On Monday, Sept. 18, Winchester showed they hadn’t forgotten.

The annual Constitution Commemoration Day Program, conducted by the Hart Chapter of the Kentucky Society Daughters of the American Revolution (KSDAR), occurred at 4:30 p.m. in the Fiscal Court Room of the Clark County Courthouse.

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“We’re honored to be joined today with our local and state dignitaries as well as a representation of our DAR leadership,” said Fara Fox Tyree, Hart Chapter KSDAR Honorary Regent. “We’re grateful to know that this amazing document is still a living entity that guides our path in the honorable quest to continue our founders’ creation.”

The signing of the United States Constitution, which took place in 1787, represents what the Pacific Legal Foundation calls “the most remarkable political charter in history.”

It is considered the legal means by which individuals ensure the government serves its vital purpose without violating their rights.

On Monday, shortly after opening words from Fox, the Winchester Fire Department Color Guard presented the colors inside the Fiscal Court Room.

Following a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem being sung by Perri Wilson, the preamble to the Constitution was read by all those who were present.

Attendees included Winchester City Commissioners Kenny Book and Kitty Strode, Clark County Magistrate Steve Craycraft and Clark County Deputy Judge-Executive Jim Tipton, Clark County Clerk Michelle Turner and executive pastor of Church of the Living God Mike Smith.

Clark County Judge-Executive Les Yates and Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed had an opportunity to address the audience.

Yates, a former state representative, referred to section 4 of the Kentucky Constitution’s Bill of Rights as a guiding force for getting him into politics.

“It says, ‘All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their safety, happiness, and in protection of their property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to offer reform or abolish their government as they may deem proper,’” Yates said. “It means that these are the rights that can not be taken away or given away by any human law as they are natural and inherent to every individual at birth.”

Mayor Reed, whose mother was a member of the DAR, also spoke to those in attendance.

“Thank you for keeping our Constitution alive,” Reed said. “Thank you for reminding us the more we can teach our children as they’re younger [that] this is something that should be celebrated every year.”

State Senator Greg Elkins, a former magistrate of the Clark County Fiscal Court, spoke of gratitude for certain concepts born of the U.S. Constitution – such as freedom of religion and a jury according to one’s peers – and advocated for studying the Constitution of Kentucky.

“The founding fathers set into motion the greatest experiment in self-governance the world has ever known,” Elkins said. “Elected officials such as myself should always remember our first duty to our office is an oath to defend these constitutions.”

Kentucky State DAR Honorary State Regent, past vice president general, and Hart Chapter Honorary Regent Leslie Rogers Miller spoke about the organization.

“The goal of DAR in this annual celebration is to enlighten the public about the historical events surrounding the establishment of the Constitution and the men who framed the document using public service announcements, newspaper editorial opportunities [and] social media, to hold events, and put up displays celebrating the 68th anniversary of the first Constitution Week, to commemorate the 236th anniversary of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Amendments [number] one through ten,” Miller said.