"Today we planted a tree for all the world to see," sang 13-year-old Jennifer Wainwright during a bicentennial tree and marker dedication ceremony Tuesday commemorating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
The event, sponsored by the Salt Lake Canyon Trails Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, was held at the Canyon Rim Park Amphitheater, 3050 S. 29th East.Captains and sponsors from 22 DUP camps were guests at a brunch, followed by a program, "Patriots and Pioneers - Builders of a Nation," directed by county President Lillian H. Dunn.
Third District Judge Homer Wilkinson commended the audience for taking the time to get involved in civic and community organizations to help protect the freedoms the forefathers fought long and hard for.
"The Constitution is like the air we breathe," Wilkinson said. "We breathe air day and night and never think anything about it, until someone tries to take it away from us, then we realize how dependent we are on it."
"The Constitution is the same way." Wilkinson said. "We grow up with these freedoms, and we don't realize we have them until someone tries to take them from us."
"Where were the women when the Constitution was signed? Well, to tell you the truth we were not invited," said Charlotte Sheffield Maxfield, costumed as and portraying Martha Washington.
"And yet we women paid plenty for the freedoms that you enjoy. I spent part of a bitter, cruel winter in Valley Forge nursing the wounded, listening to their screaming, watching them freeze, starve and struggle on for your freedoms. I saw firsthand the blood spilled for liberty.
"As for the Constitution, I do know that George was very concerned about it. One time he said, `It is too probable that no plan we propose will be adopted.' "
Maxfield addressed her remarks as Martha from the musical production, "We The People," written by Brian Fetzer.
"As for tracing your ancestry," Salt Lake County Commissioner D. Michael Stewart said, "Anyone who intends to run for an elected office ought not have to spend one dime tracing ancestors. If you wait long enough, the opposition will do it for you."
Stewart then went on to tell about James Madison, the father of the Constitution.
"Madison sort of locked himself away from the rest of the world for six months while he studied the constitutions of other countries. He wanted to know what worked and what wouldn't.
"Madison looked at power and sought ways to avoid abusing it," Stewart said. "And when he felt he understood what our country needed, he called a meeting to draft a Constitution for the United States of America."
Once written, he then helped write the Federalist Papers in defense of the Constitution. "The Federalist Papers were editorials stating what is good about the Constitution and why it will work," Stewart said.
In the song her father, Paul, wrote especially for the tree-planting ceremony, Wainwright likened the tree to the Constitution.
"Today we planted a tree to bring joy to young and old. It will long endure, and its branches pure will forever our memories . . . We pray this tree will always be an inspiration far beyond words."
The tree, a Kwanzan Flowering Japanese Cherry tree, is similar to the flowering cherry trees in Washington, D.C., is symbolic of where the Constitution was signed, said President Lillian H. Dunn.