Conover welcomes new addition

By: 
Lindsay Robins
Staff Writer

Conover City Park welcomed its newest addition on Wednesday, October 9th.

The Charters of Freedom installation was dedicated under the United States, North Carolina, and City of Conover flags, after a presentation of colors by the Newton-Conover High School JROTC. The dedication included speakers from across the state, city leaders, and had approximately fifty attendees.

The Charters of Freedom installation is a replica of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The original documents, written and signed by the Founding Fathers, are on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. The installation in Conover, built by Foundation Forward, is the sixteenth in the state of North Carolina, and the twenty-sixth in the United States.

Foundation Forward is a 501(c)(3) organization that builds “Your Charters of Freedom” as an education tool across the country. Foundation Forward was founded by Vance and Mary Jo Patterson, of Burke County. After an emotional experience visiting the original Charters of Freedom in Washington, the Pattersons decided to make it their mission to make that experience accessible for the citizens of Burke County. Their mission became an educational project to build a Charters of Freedom setting in Morganton, NC, and they formed Foundation Forward to accomplish that task. On July 2, 2014, Foundation Forward built its first setting on the Old Burke County Courthouse Green.

“Our passion is to provide easy access for all to these founding documents in a proper setting. Our vision is to provide this access and education in all communities in the United States of America. Our goal is to educate and preserve American history.”

Attendees of the dedication had the opportunity to hear the Foundation Forward origin story from the Pattersons, speeches from City of Conover Mayor, Lee Moritz, Jr., and Field Representative for Senator Burr, Mike Fenley, and a cannon volley. Attendees were also able to add their names to a time capsule to be opened on Constitution Day in 2087. After the dedication ceremony, guests and attendees had their first chance to see the installation up close.

“I’m personally excited, but the senator is also excited, particularly about the concept of having one of these in all 100 counties of North Carolina,” shared Fenley. “We think it’s really important because young people don’t get exposed to these documents, and what they mean, as much as we think they should.”

The installation is nestled in the heart of City Park beside the Norman B. Coley Amphitheater. “Your Charters of Freedom” setting is a replica of how the original founding documents are displayed in the National Archives. The six pages of the founding documents are etched in bronze and covered with glass for durability and up-close viewing. There are two plaques on the installation designed for visitors to take rubbings. One plaque displays “We The People” and the other displays the signatures of North Carolina signers of the constitution. The setting is built to last up to 500 years.

“We stand here today as the recipients of a great and wondrous gift, a gift given to us through the sacrifice of our forefathers and maintained through the dedication and toil of many brave men and women; not only in uniform but those who have stood against tyranny, oppression, racism, and sexism,” stated Mayor Moritz in his dedication speech. “We as free people make the daily choice to stand for the protection of the rights set forth in these Charters of Freedom and afforded to all our countrymen, young or old, men and women, of all colors, without discrimination.”

“One of the greatest honors of being mayor is to have this because it’s a reminder that there has been a lot of sacrifice in building this country,” Mayor Moritz added after the dedication. “Sometimes, we need a reminder of that. I’m very honored to have this in our community as a representation for the entire county.”

For more information on Foundation Forward, visit www.chartersoffreedom.com

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