BOUNTIFUL -- In honor of Constitution Day on Monday, a large group of volunteers organized an event to help the community gain a new understanding and appreciation of the Constitution.
"There is a reason why America is the most free and prosperous nation, because of our Founding Fathers," said Dalane England, chairwoman of Freedom's Light, which sponsored the event. The event continues from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. today and tomorrow at Bountiful Park, 400 N. 200 West.
Around the park are 16 stations set up where people can hear an actor dressed as Thomas Jefferson talk about the Constitution, listen to stories about people who traveled on the Mayflower, visit with people representing townsfolk from Jamestown and Williamsburg who talk about what it was like to start a new nation, and even experience the process of immigrating through Ellis Island.
England expects about 900 students from Top of Utah to come to the event for school field trips, as well as Scout troops, families and community members.
"Our kids are our future, and if we don't know and understand the Constitution, we can't maintain and protect it and live according to its principles," England said. "We've taken (the Constitution) for granted so much and haven't been vigilant in learning about the origin of it."
During the opening program, an actor dressed as Christopher Columbus told his story of being led by God in his discovery of the American continents and detailed his four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean.
Fourteen-year-old Rosalie Beeli, of Syracuse, was interested to learn how long he had to wait before he received permission from Spain for his first expedition.
"(Columbus') determination and constant pursuit of that impressed me the most," Rosalie said. "I don't know if I would have had that much persistence."
After the presentation, the crowd began milling about the stations and participating in the activities. Donna Parker, of Bountiful, was helping several youngsters remove states from a string and arrange them onto a board. She showed the kids how the colonies were originally on their own and had their own laws, but once they were brought together to form a union, they were stronger working together.
Twelve-year-old Elisabeth Antley, of Bountiful, was impressed by the activity.
"I learned that when they stand together, they stand a better chance than when they're alone," Elisabeth said. "If they hadn't come together, America wouldn't be here."
In another of the activities, the kids covered their eyes with a mask and sat on a chair while using a straw to try to touch anyone attempting to steal the toy people under their chair. They had a much easier time when Debby Giordano, of Bountiful, took off the mask and allowed them to use swim noodles to "attack" those trying to get to the people.
"It is a lot easier to protect our rights in the Constitution if we don't put blinders on," Giordano said. "We need to keep our blinders off, so we can see what is going on and protect our rights."
She also reiterated the importance of learning what those rights are, so that if those rights are ever taken away, citizens can fight to keep them.
Elisabeth Antley's sister, Lauren, 9, summed up her experience at the event by reflecting on how her knowledge of the Constitution can help her in the future.
"I know more about my country now, so that when I grow up I can know what my rights are, so they can't take them away from me. And I can tell my kids, so they can have a better life."