Constitution Day is commonly recognized on Sept. 17, but this year Shippensburg University kicked off its annual festivities on Friday.
The event began at 10 a.m. in front of the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library with the opening words of coordinator and assistant dean and director of libraries Michelle Foreman.
“Nearly 230 years ago the Constitution was signed and became fully celebrated starting in 1940,” Foreman said. “[The day of celebration] was originally called Citizenship Day.”
An educational institution is required by law to provide a program to educate its students about the Constitution. Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School (GBLUES), which is used as a research resource school for SU’s teacher education program, attended the event as a part of its Constitution unit.
The final activity was for GBLUES fourth- and fifth-grade classes to memorize and recite the preamble of the Constitution during the day’s celebration.
Foreman introduced SU President Laurie Carter to the elementary school students, SU students and community members gathered at the library.
“Today is a very special day for us because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate all of the rights and privileges that make America so great,” Carter said. “All across the country people will celebrate in different ways and our way is special because we’re going to recite the preamble together.”
Before the students recited the famous words with Carter, GBLUES Director Steven Smith spoke to the crowd regarding the importance of the day.
“Behind us, close to the Lehman Library, 2,977 American flags represent our nation remembering the thousands of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and how our nation came together in a time of crisis,” Smith said. “As our colonists came together 230 years ago developing the Constitution and preamble.”
Smith discussed the importance of the GBLUES students learning about the Constitution in the classroom, the meaning of the American flag and the election and judiciary processes.
“This document is critical to know as individuals, Pennsylvanians and Americans,” Smith said.
Following Smith’s speech, Carter was invited back to recite the words of the Constitution with the GBLUES students.
GBLUES fifth-grade student Anna Connor was one of the students who spoke the renowned words.
“We learned from a ‘Schoolhouse Rock song,’” Connor said.
The GBLUES students’ work will be on display in the Ezra Lehman Library for the rest of this week.