Darton College celebrates the Constitution - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Darton College celebrates the Constitution

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Flags line the sidewalk leading to the Library at Darton College.  The college celebrated Constitution Days this week. Flags line the sidewalk leading to the Library at Darton College. The college celebrated Constitution Days this week.
A Darton College student glances over a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution.  Students in period attire handed out hundreds of copies. A Darton College student glances over a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution. Students in period attire handed out hundreds of copies.
A pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution - ready to be read. A pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution - ready to be read.
Retired Army Lt. Colonel Dan Hammack was the guest speaker at today's Darton College Constitution Day event. Retired Army Lt. Colonel Dan Hammack was the guest speaker at today's Darton College Constitution Day event.
A student walks past the fountain near the Library at Darton College.  The college put up dozens of flags this week for Constitution Days. A student walks past the fountain near the Library at Darton College. The college put up dozens of flags this week for Constitution Days.
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The Constitution, it means different things to different people.

Matthew Bellflower, a Darton College student said, "it guarantees the right to bear arms."

Mirabel Martin, a student at Darton College has a different interpretation.  She said, "I can say whatever I want, and in other countries you're not allowed to say whatever you want."

But while the meaning of the document is open to interpretation, the date that it was approved isn't, September 17th, 1787.

So this week, Darton College is celebrating the document that forms the basis of our laws. Starting on Wednesday: "we did a re-enactment of the signing of the Constitution," said Martin.

And ending Friday with a speech in the theatre by Dan Hammack.

Hammack is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, and while the topic of his speeches was originally military affairs, the talk quickly turned to something else.

"Gradually as time has gone by, it's become a general discussion about character, the American character and the Constitution is part of the American character," he said.

The Constitution may be more than 200 years old, but what's written in it has applications for all Americans, including the students at Darton College.

The fight over the health care bill - which many states are opposing on constitutional grounds - shows that the Constitution is still open to interpretation.  And the recent uprisings in some parts of the Middle East show that the ideals that flow from it still resonate in other parts of the world.

"Liberty was not something that anybody spoke about until around 200 years ago," said Hammack.

That sentiment applies to all Americans, perhaps even more to those who are children of recent immigrants.  Like Martin, whose family came from Mexico.

She said, "you have people who - they don't even know what the Constitution means until they go to school and they take it for granted."

But while college students are often accused of apathy, this audience was not among those who took the freedoms that they had for granted.

"I liked how people got involved with the discussion, that was good. I think we should do more things like this," said Bellflower.

And if this kind of enthusiasm carries into the future, then this grand experiment - American democracy - will live on for years to come.

Congress has declared September 17th to be National Constitution Day.  Since that's on a Saturday, it's being observed today.

If you would like to see the original copy of the U.S Constitution, you'll have to do some traveling.  It's housed at the National Archives in Washington.  If you haven't read, you can click here to see it.

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