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Saugus celebrates ‘Constitution Day’

Ceremony commemorates 236th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

Gail Cassarino, the regent of the Parson Roby Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution, is all smiles as she rings a bell to celebrate Constitution Day. (Charlie McKenna)

SAUGUS — For one minute Sunday afternoon, the sound of bells ringing filled Saugus Center as the Parson Roby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution celebrated the 236th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

To kick off “Constitution Week,” a small crowd gathered outside Town Hall to celebrate the anniversary on the day the document was signed. Those attending were handed a bell and their very own pocket Constitution.

In addition to the ringing of the bells — at 4 p.m. sharp — attendees sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” and heard remarks from members of the DAR.

DAR Regent Gail Cassarino, fresh off being named a person of the year at Founder’s Day the previous weekend, said she is hopeful Sunday marks the start of a new tradition in Saugus. Cassarino explained that the ringing of the bells is a tradition dating all the way back to 1787.

“They rang the bells in rejoicing, and it’s been a tradition since then to ring bells on Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and everyone rings the bells across the country,” she said.

During a brief ceremony ahead of the ringing of the bells, Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano read a proclamation, officially denoting the week of Sept. 17 through Sept. 23 as Constitution Week.

Cogliano was joined by two other members of the board at the event, Vice Chairman Debra Panetta and Corinne Riley.

Also during the ceremony, Tony Smith, Cassarino’s grandson and a member of the Children of the American Revolution, led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Cassarino said one of the group’s primary goals was to get children involved.

“Our mission as we always say … it’s promoting history preservation, promoting education, and promoting patriotism,” she said.

While turnout was relatively low at the first ever Constitution Day, Cassarino said she was “very encouraged” by the number of people who did attend.

“It gives you a little ping in your heart,” she said.

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