Constitution Week to be celebrated in Craig, Steamboat |

Constitution Week to be celebrated in Craig, Steamboat

— The anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence — and the birth of the United States of America in general — is commemorated each July 4. However, a date that receives far less fanfare and fireworks is Sept. 17, and the document that came about on that day in 1787 is no less important than its companion that was written 11 years prior.

Constitution Week begins Tuesday and runs through Sept. 23 with numerous activities and educational opportunities for residents of Craig and Steamboat Springs regarding the signing of the United States Constitution, which formed the backbone of the American government.

The official Constitution Day, Sept. 17, will feature a tintinnabulation at noon as area churches with the proper equipment begin ringing their bells in honor of the occasion. During the day, proclamations will be issued by the cities of Craig and Steamboat as well as on behalf of Moffat and Routt counties.

Students in the region also will learn about the historical document, and small cards will be passed out in schools containing the preamble, the 52-word introduction to the Constitution.

Members of the Augusta Wallihan Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution will be handing out the cards in addition to certificates of award for schools offering Constitution-based learning.

"They take away a lot of awareness from this and where they came from and why we have the freedoms that we do that other countries don't have," said Debbie McLain, corresponding secretary for Daughters of the American Revolution. "Hopefully, it piques their interest and makes them proud to be Americans and helps them see what kind of sacrifices were made for them to have the liberty that they do."

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The group also arranged for Constitution displays to be placed throughout the week in public locations around Craig and Steamboat, such as Craig City Hall, the Moffat and Routt court houses, Centennial Hall, the Craig branch of Moffat County Library, Bud Werner Memorial Library, Museum of Northwest Colorado, and the Moffat County Tourism Association in Centennial Mall.

Each of the schools in the Moffat County School District, as well as the administration building, also features a display showing a replica of the document next to an antique candlestick and inkwell complete with quill, giving the impression that the paper was only just written by James Madison.

Moffat Superintendent Joe Petrone said he thinks the inclusion of such materials in schools and elsewhere is very beneficial to students.

"We couldn't be more delighted with the partnership with Daughters of the American Revolution," he said. "We completely support the Founding Fathers' ideas for a free and public education, so it just makes sense to have those in schools."

McLain said she encourages all Americans to take the opportunity to learn more about the Constitution, what it means and what has come from it, such as the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Constitutional amendments.

Besides learning what freedoms the document guarantees, people also need to know what isn't covered by the Constitution, McLain said.

"People take an awful lot for granted, and they need to understand what it is we've based our country on," McLain said. "A lot of times, people will say, 'It's my Constitutional right' or talk about separation of church and state, when in actuality, it doesn't use those exact words. The important thing is to actually read it."

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or

U.S. Constitution Preamble

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

— Cards featuring the preamble will be given out to students in Craig and Steamboat Springs schools by members of the Daughters of the American Revolution as part of Constitution Week, which begins Tuesday.