It’s Constitution Week in Culpeper and Madison’s Montpelier

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A proclamation authorized by Mayor Frank Reaves Jr. designates September 17-23, 2022 as Constitution Week in the City of Culpeper. It commemorates the 235th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution during the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

On September 17, Constitution Day will be celebrated with special celebrations in Culpeper and Montpellier by James Madison in Orange County, home of the man known as the father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

At the Charters of Freedom exhibit in the city’s Yowell Meadow Park, the American Spirit Puppets will perform a free interactive family show at 2 p.m. Saturday to mark the 235th anniversary of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

The Culpeper Minutemen Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will sponsor this unique story-driven program, during which the winners of the DAR poster contest will be announced.

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Culpeper student musicians will perform choral and instrumental selections.

Nancy Rice, chair of the Constitution Week Committee, Culpeper Minutemen Chapter DAR, said Tuesday that Saturday’s event, this weekend’s event was pretty well organized and the weather could be very nice. September 17 appears to be sunny with a low of 55 and a high of 84.

The DAR received over 25 poster contest entries from various schools and through the Culpeper Library. Candidates from the region aged 18 and under were invited to submit an original poster highlighting the spirit and meaning of the Constitution. The winner will be announced on Saturday, receive a $25 gift card to Michael’s, and enter the state DAR poster contest and possibly the national championships.

Constitution Day in Montpellier will feature a series of panels on the state of American democracy and potential threats to its freedom. Visitors can enjoy specialty tours, activity booths and interactive talks with Mr. Madison himself.

The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a liberation ceremony at the slave cemetery on the plantation of the fourth American president.

Throughout the day, community organizations will be manning information tables, Mr. Madison will be “at home” and Burnt Ends BBQ and Patch Brewing Co. will be selling food and beverages.

“On this Constitution Day, we honor our Founders, including James Madison and the Invisible Founders enslaved in Montpellier and the surrounding plantations,” the Montpelier Foundation said in a statement. “While Madison and his contemporaries conceptualized the structure of a new government, enslaved Americans built the nation through their knowledge, expertise, and labor.”

Montpellier is organizing two free on-site panels which will be available virtually. Reservations through montpelier.org are required for on-site and virtual participation.

At 10:30 a.m., leaders of the Montpelier Foundation and the Montpelier Descendants Committee will discuss “equal sharing of power in Montpelier,” to explore structural parity and what this new power-sharing dynamic means for Montpelier.

A panel discussion at 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Salon of the Visitor Center will feature a conversation on “Is the Constitution in Danger? Panelists Jamelle Bouie (New York Times, CBS News), Michael Higginbotham (University of Baltimore School of Law) and Lindsay Chervinsky (Center for Presidential History) will examine the question.

In addition, the Highlights of Montpellier circuit will be offered every half hour between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; the Bill of Rights Tour exploring James Madison’s role as an author will be offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; the Constitution Tour exploring the origins of the Constitution and its legacies today will be offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; and the Enslaved Community Tour examining the paradox of slavery will be offered at noon.

Additional free virtual tours and roundtables are planned throughout Constitution Month. The Constitution and Bill of Rights tours will be offered on September 24. and “Get Organized! How to Help Create Inclusive Communities” on September 29. An in-person roundtable, “Voices from the Community: How to be a Young Change-Maker” will take place on September 24.

An East Woods hike, on a newly developed trail on one of the Madisons farms, is scheduled for Sunday, September 25 at 10 a.m.

Montpelier celebrates the American Constitution to honor the fundamental ideas of natural rights, individual liberty, democracy, and citizenship that continue to shape American life and inspire people around the world.

On Tuesday, the Culpeper City Council unanimously passed a Constitution Week resolution and presented a copy to Rice, who was present to accept the proclamation.

She invited everyone to Constitution Day at Yowell Meadow Park, near where the original Culpeper Minutemen gathered to fight in the American Revolution that helped foster the creation of the Constitution.

The city resolution states:

“…WHEREAS it is of the utmost importance that all citizens understand the provisions and principles contained in the Constitution in order to support, preserve, protect and defend it effectively against all enemies; and

“WHEREAS, the Constitution, together with the Bill of Rights, provided the organic structure of our Democratic Republic and our individual liberties, enabling our nation to grow from a collection of motley former colonies into a United Nations in which our people have created opportunity and built the greatest economy in the world, based on freedom, creative genius and hard work; and

“WHEREAS, in recognition of the signing of the Constitution and of Americans striving to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952, designated September 17 as the Day of Constitution and Citizenship Day, and by The resolution of August 2, 1956, directed the President to proclaim the week beginning on September 17 and ending on September 23 in each year as “Constitution Week”.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Frank Reaves Jr., Mayor of the City of Culpeper, Virginia, and on behalf of the Culpeper City Council, do hereby proclaim September 17-23, 2022 Constitution Week and call upon our citizens to affirm the ideals of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed by this magnificent document, by remembering that rights lost can never be regained, and by expressing their gratitude for the privilege of U.S. citizenship GIVEN under my hand this 13th day of September 2022.”

abrophy@starexponent.com

540/825-4315

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