Church bells in Springfield will ring for two minutes and 34 seconds at 3 p.m. on Sept. 17, celebrating the 234th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Central Baptist Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church are some of the participating churches. The Rees Memorial Carillon bells will also ring.
Springfield-area chapters of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are leading this, joining other chapters nationwide in ringing Bells Across America to commemorate U.S. Constitution Week. Springfield, Chatham and Petersburg DAR chapters will also ring handbells 234 times near the Carillon at Washington Park.
DAR petitioned Congress in 1955 to dedicate Sept. 17-23 of each year as Constitution Week. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made this official on Aug. 2, 1956. The goals of this celebration are to encourage study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787, to remind the public that the Constitution is the basis of America's great heritage and the foundation for its way of life, and to emphasize U.S. citizens' responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the U.S. Constitution.
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and National Archives are resources to learn more. Leading scholars with diverse perspectives provide information on the text, history and meaning of the U.S. Constitution through the Constitution Center's Interactive Constitution https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution. Add your name virtually to become a signer of the U.S. Constitution on the National Archives website https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/constitution-day.
If you haven't read the U.S. Constitution since high school history class, now is a good time to read it again.