Constitution Day Celebration -- September 17th, 2019
On Tuesday evening September 17th, 2019, the George Washington Center for Constitution Studies (GWCCS) and the local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Virginia Frontier and Natural Bridge) sponsored a celebration of the Constitution at the historic Wesley Chapel in Lexington. Two cadets from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) played bagpipes and a bugle. An official proclamation honoring Constitution Week was read on behalf of the Mayor of Buena Vista, William H. Fitzgerald. Fifteen young women from the Bella Voce Women's Chorus at Southern Virginia University (SVU) sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful."
Tony Williams, Senior Fellow of The Bill of Rights Institute and J. David Gowdy, Founder of the George Washington Center for Constitutional Studies in Buena Vista, Virginia spoke. Mr. Williams’ remarks focused on civil discourse in a constitutional republic. He said, “In today’s time, we are very divided. People are de-friending people on Facebook and Twitter. It is remarkably difficult to have a civil conversation about politics; remarkable in a democratic republic that we as fellow citizens can’t even talk to each other over that coffee or beer or across the fence as we are barbecuing. It is a remarkably odd thing. You’d think we would be able to.” He stated that we should look to Madison to learn “lessons about the spirit of compromise, about the spirit of moderation, about the spirit of a civil conversation, and about who we are as Americans if this republic is going to endure.” Madison’s work on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights highlighted both his commitment to a republican form of government and his skill of moderation and compromise. Williams reminded the audience how Madison often lost his arguments during the process but became the greatest advocate for these documents because he understood the need of being united as a nation. “Reach out, engage in civil debate, listen, and treat each other as fellow citizens,” Williams said. Mr. Gowdy spoke on the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both being “charters of liberty” and “companions based on the sovereignty of “We” the people.” Adams, Jefferson, and Madison’s words reminded us of the great struggle for liberty that occurred, “beset with difficulties & dangers, Jefferson wrote, “we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right of [liberty and] self-government. Mr. Gowdy also shared insights from Abraham Lincoln and ended with a charge from Frederick Douglass who called the Constitution a “Glorious Liberty Document.” “Read its preamble, consider its purposes …” and with regards to the Declaration of Independence, “[it] is the ring-bolt in the chain of your nation’s destiny” with saving principles which we should stand by and be true “on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever the cost.” Mr. Gowdy asked all, “Can each of us answer Frederick Douglass?”
Approximately 95 persons attended from Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County.
Constitution Class -- September 24th - October 29th, 2019
A new Constitution Class will be held in Buena Vista using “Thomas Jefferson & James Madison’s Guide to Teaching and Understanding the Constitution” on Tuesday evenings September 24th weekly through October 29th from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The location will be downtown at the George Washington Center for Constitutional Studies (GWCCS), 2271 Sycamore Avenue, Suite B, Buena Vista, Virginia. The class is based on how Thomas Jefferson and James Madison said the Constitution should be taught at the opening of the University of Virginia. See http://www.liberty1.org/UVA1825.pdf.
Here is the six-week Class Outline:
September 24th – Introduction; John Locke and his “Essay Concerning to True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government”
October 1st – Algernon Sidney and his “Discourses Concerning Government”
October 9th – Thomas Jefferson and “The Declaration of Independence”
October 15th – James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and “The Federalist Papers”: Part I
October 22nd – “The Federalist Papers”: Part II
October 29th – George Washington and his “Farewell Address;” Conclusion
Class members who attend will receive a complementary printed and bound copy of the Guide.
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you can join us.