Constitution Day brightens campus

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Constitution Day on Campus. Photo credit: David Goerg

BYU-Idaho held a Constitution Day celebration at the McKay Quad Amphitheater on Sept. 17.

According to the History, Art & Archives: United States House of Representatives website, “A total of 39 delegates signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787.”

Constitution Day is a holiday that is recognized across the nation in commemoration of this important historical event.

One of the most notable features of the celebration, open to both students and the public, was the 500 American flags placed around campus. Each flag represented 50 lives lost in the original War of Independence.

The event also featured printed quotations about the Constitution from every modern prophet, in order to highlight the significance of the Constitution in the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I thought it was good to see the prophets giving their counsel or their thoughts and insights on the Constitution,” said Alden Apedaile, a freshman studying therapeutic recreation. “One thing that really stood out to me is how the quotes cover a vast amount of our country’s history. From Joseph Smith all the way to President Nelson, all of their insights for the different time periods.”

The quotations within the display were very meaningful to Apedaile, who also worked as a volunteer for the event.

“They are inviting us to be better citizens and to be contributors to society, but also the quotes invited us to take a greater role in upholding our responsibilities and rights that we’ve been given,” Apedaile said.

Another notable part of the celebration included free red, white and blue pancakes and hot dogs given out during breakfast and lunch hours.

Quotations from modern prophets, beginning with the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Quotations from modern prophets, beginning with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Photo credit: David Goerg

There was also a formal ceremony that included the posting of the colors of the United States of America (or in other words, the placement of the flag in a display area) by the BYU-I ROTC guard, a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, a performance of the national anthem, a prayer for our nation and a moment of silence to honor fallen veterans.

“The whole event is to just remember Constitution Day,” said Renee Christensen, the director of Student Activities at BYU-I. “What that meant for our country, what it means for our country now and how important the Constitution is.”

Christensen has worked on the campus display for eight years.

“We think it’s a very important day to celebrate and to remind students of the importance of our Constitution and upholding our Constitution,” Christensen said.

Nathan Watson, a Student Support coordinator for BYU-I, was up at 5:45 a.m. to hammer in flags and ready everything for the event with an army of volunteers — 50 in the morning and 42 in the evening.

“I think President Oaks’ talk about the Constitution and importance of the Constitution is what we try to emulate here on Constitution Day,” Watson said. “When you walk through the flags, it is very somber, and it’s very uplifting. I would say it’s almost a spiritual experience if you allow it to be, if you’re remembering those lives that were lost.”

The events on campus were just one of many events that took place across the country to remember and celebrate the Constitution of the United States of America.

“We need to remember that it was an inspired document that was created, and which also allowed the Restoration of the gospel to happen.” Christensen concluded. “It’s a great time to reflect on the importance of the Constitution.”