At 4 p.m. Sunday, bells rang for several minutes throughout downtown Clinton and America to celebrate a historic moment in history — the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
A crowd of people stood silently near the entrance of the Sampson County Courthouse. After the last chime, Sean Capparrucia broke the silence with words penned more than 200 years ago.
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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,” Capparrucia said while reciting the preamble.
Capparrucia was one of many people who participated in the “Bells Across America,” hosted by the Richard Clinton Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). Nationwide, the ceremony kicked off Constitution Week, which is set for Sept. 17 through Sept. 23. The Constitution is now 230 years old.
While talking to the audience, Capparrucia stressed the importance of honoring the document and sticking to the founding principals of the country.
“We are blessed to live in this country and I can say with firm conviction, that neither I or you for that matter, would be as blessed if we were born in any other country,” he said.
He expressed his belief by quoting Noah Webster, a supporter of the new Constitution,which was ratified in 1787. He wrote a pamphlet examining the document. Webster said the origins of the American republic was different than other nations that were driven together by fear, necessity or having a single ruler and their family.
“In short, it is the empire of reason,” Capparrucia said while reading Webster’s words. “In the formation of such a government, it’s not only the right but the indispensable duty of every citizen to examine the principles of it …”
Capparrucia later referred to the first words of the document, “We the People …”
“It means that we are the government,” he said. “We were the first nation in the world to govern itself. My friends, that’s freedom.”
Today, he discussed how many believe that lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are making all the decisions and have no input on matters effecting their lives.
“If that is all likely the reality, it is because we the people, let it become that way,” Capparrucia said. “But for now, everyone single person we put up there, that makes decisions for us, are elected.”
He later conveyed how voting is an important part of democracy of America, a concept that many countries are envious of. While expressing his pride in the U.S. Capparrucia spoke on other matters and his feelings on keeping God a part of government, remembering history and Americans with disagreements getting along.
“As we celebrate this wonderful document that put this country on a high pedestal to give light to other nations, let us never forget that according to its principals — principals laid down by men who yearned for freedom and laid down there lives for it — each one of us are responsible for its continuance,” Capparrucia said. “We cannot be Americans who love freedom and at the same time entertain ideas of socialism or communism or even globalism, all of which seek to continue to destroy America.”
Capparrucia encouraged everyone to read America’s documents and holding elected officials and themselves accountable, while being an example to the world.
“To secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our prosperity,” he said while reading a portion of the Constitution. “Our forefathers wrote those words for a great and timeless purpose. With God as our foundation, they are the structure on which upon our structure, liberty and pursuit of happiness is built.”
Some of the other organizations and individuals in the celebration included cadets from Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy, the Rev. Daniel Mark Cenci of St. Paul’s Esiscopal Church, invocation provider; local Boy and Girl Scouts; 4-H members and veterans. Joan Carr, regent of the local D.A.R. chapter, presented veteran Glenn Robert Bass was honored as the 2017 Outstanding Veteran Volunteer award for his volunteer efforts in the community. Some of the work includes visiting veterans in nursing homes or assisting them with trips to the hospital.
John Thornhill of the Sons of the American Revolution, spoke to the audience about the importance of the historic document. He dressed up as patriot for the special occasion and spoke about the work of the organization.
“Our ancestors fought in it and provided some type of patriotic service to the Revolution and we’re proud of it,” Thornhill said. “We’re proud to be an American as everyone else should be.”
Led by Capparrucia, the ceremony came to an end as everyone citing the Pledge of Allegiance with everyone looking up towards the American flag, which he deemed “the symbol of our national unity and freedom.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.