Jeanie Durham, a member of the Moffat County Tea Party, decorates American Legion Post 62 for a Constitution Day celebration Friday. The Constitution was signed 223 years ago, on Sept. 17, 1787.

Photo by Ben McCanna

Jeanie Durham, a member of the Moffat County Tea Party, decorates American Legion Post 62 for a Constitution Day celebration Friday. The Constitution was signed 223 years ago, on Sept. 17, 1787.

Moffat County Tea Party, local students recognize Constitution Day

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Bob McConnell, a former candidate for Colorado’s Third Congressional District and a member of the Moffat County Tea Party, discusses his military service with a fellow veteran before a Constitution Day event Friday.

The U.S. Constitution, Bob McConnell said, makes for good, enlightening reading.

“It’s powerful,” said McConnell, a former candidate for Colorado’s Third Congressional District. “You can sit down and read the whole thing in 45 minutes. It’s eye-opening.”

McConnell attended a Moffat County Tea Party meeting Friday at American Legion Post 62 in Craig in recognition of Constitution Day.

Friday marked the 223rd anniversary of the document’s signing on Sept. 17, 1787.

“I’m a big believer in the Constitution,” McConnell said. “It means our freedom. It’s the best system ever designed for protecting liberty.”

McConnell said he’s concerned that government expansion has violated the text of the Constitution. Those violations, he said, threaten U.S. economic viability.

“(The U.S.) is the greatest engine for economic prosperity in the history of the world,” McConnell said. “We have this tremendous economic energy that allows people the freedom to succeed and the risk to fail.

“And that keeps the edge sharp.”

Norm Culverwell, a fellow Tea Party member, also praised the Constitution on Friday.

“To me, it means the protection of private property and individual rights,” Culverwell said. “I don’t know if that’s a good answer, but it’s my answer.”

Tea Party members weren’t the only local residents to acknowledge the Constitution’s anniversary.

In 2004, Congress passed a law to establish Sept. 17 as a federal holiday. The law requires all public schools to celebrate Constitution Day through lesson plans and events.

Schools throughout the Moffat County School District set aside time to recognize the day Friday.

At Ridgeview Elementary School, fifth-graders learned about the three systems of government. Later, Ridgeview students performed a song about the Constitution, principal Julie Baker said.

In the Craig Middle School auditorium, Principal Bill Toovey presented a video on the Constitution to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Although Sept. 17 has come and gone, Toovey said the Constitution will be taught again later this year at CMS.

“Eighth-graders will spend a significant amount of time delving into the Constitutional structure, the Bill of Rights and so forth,” he said. “But today, we thought we would back up and look at a little bit of the history that led up to the Constitution.”

Brehanna Sanchez, a Craig Middle School sixth-grade student, said the topic was difficult to understand during a one-day crash course.

“The teachers don’t explain it enough to where we actually understand it,” she said. “It would be better if they didn’t use such big words, or if they stopped to explain the big words to us.”

At the Tea Party meeting, Culverwell sounded off on the 2004 law.

“That right there is a primary example of big government gone bad,” Culverwell said.

McConnell agreed.

“It shouldn’t be a mandate,” he said. “It should be something that people are excited about and want to do. Not something that they’re told to do, and not something that they suffer a consequence if they don’t do.”

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