Bells rang out across America at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 to celebrate the signing of the Constitution, which occurred Sept. 17, 1787.
The local bell ringing and brief program was held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
The Regent for the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Chapter, Ashley Adams, opened the ceremony saying, in part, “In 1955, the national DAR organization petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17-23 to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by Congress and signed into law Aug. 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Those in attendance then read the Preamble to the Constitution, which was followed by Rockport Mayor Pat Rios reading the following proclamation declaring :
“WHEREAS, September 17, 2020 marks the 233rd anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention; and
“WHEREAS, The Constitution of the United States of America, the guardian of our liberties, embodies the principles of limited government in a Republic dedicated to rule by law; and
“WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper to accord official recognition to this magnificent document and its memorable anniversary; and
“WHEREAS, Public Law 915 guarantees the issuing of a proclamation each year by the President of the United States of America designating September 17-23 as Constitution Week; and
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Patrick Rios, Mayor of the City of Rockport, do hereby proclaim the week of September 17-23, 2020, as Constitution Week and ask our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of our liberties.”
St. Peter’s Episcopal Father Jim Friedel then entered the church and rang the bell for one minute, in unison with thousands of others across the nation.
Father Friedel then addressed the crowd saying, “The Constitution itself does not specifically address religion and faith to a great extent, the most direct statement is found in the last section of Article VI. That being said, it is quite clear the founders of this nation valued greatly the role religion and faith have in forming the integrity, character, and morality of our leaders and the people across this great nations.
“Article VI states, ‘No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’ This and guardedness that any particular faith tradition could become a nationally prescribed religion, seem to have been their greatest concerns.
“Today, in addition to reflecting upon a living treasure of our national heritage, this occasion affords us the opportunity to pray for our nation. I know we pray in a variety of different ways. As we pray today, may the collection of our prayers rise up to God as incense, a heartfelt offering of our cares and concerns for country.”
He then closed the ceremony in prayer.