By Shawn Raymundo
Throughout the country, the various chapters of the national organization Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) gathered to ring bells on Tuesday, Sept. 17, paying tribute to the penning of the U.S. Constitution.
A few dozen of the members from the group’s local chapters, including the San Clemente Island Chapter, assembled at San Juan Capistrano’s historic Mission to participate in the longstanding annual tradition, where the bells of the church were rung around 1 p.m.—coinciding with other ceremonies held on the East Coast at 4 p.m.
The Constitution “has stood for almost 232 years as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout our history, to maintain our liberties, freedoms and inalienable rights.” Adele Lancaster, state regent for the California State Society Daughters of the American Revolution, said at Tuesday’s bell-ringing ceremony.
“We join with millions this afternoon ringing bells across America in towns, town halls, churches, and schools for a very grand celebration,” she added.
Rafael Gutierrez, one of the Mission’s three bell ringers and who has worked there for 50 years, had the honor of ringing the bells for the ceremony.
The annual bell ringing is meant to mark the start of Constitution Week, a national period of observance to honor the 1787 signing of one of the nation’s founding documents. Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower enacted the resolution establishing the weeklong celebration in 1956 after DAR had petitioned its creation in 1955.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow The Dispatch @CapoDispatch.