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Photograph: Members of the Opelousas Chapter of the Daughters of The American Revolution are pictured after sponsoring the event on Sunday. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin)

Editor/Consulting Writer

The ringing of the 19th century bell on the St. Landry Parish Courthouse Square Sunday afternoon proclaimed the start of U.S. Constitution Week, which asks American citizens to remember and reflect on the historical significance of the document signed in 1787.

Members of the Opelousas Chapter of the Daughters of The American Revolution celebrated the 68th anniversary of the Congressionally adopted event by hosting a Bells Across America program aimed at commemorating the ringing of church bells in Philadelphia, following the adoption of the Constitution.

The recently refurbished bell at the courthouse rang several times beginning at 3 p.m. in unison with other similarly nationally sponsored Bells Across America events in America, said Opelousas DAR representative Joanne Caillouet.

Caillouet said the traditional ringing of the bells nationwide is also intended to encourage the study of historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution, the legacy of how the document has shaped America and the impact the Constitution has had on American citizens.

St. Landry Parish government representative Layne Herpin rings the Courthouse bell. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin)

Recording secretary Letitia Peyton said all of the national DAR chapters are encouraging Americans this week to think more deeply about the impact the Constitution has had and perpetuating the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country independent.

Peyton added in her address to the crowd assembled for the ceremony that women have also felt the desire to express patriotic feelings, but were frustrated by their exclusion from men’s organizations.

As a result Peyton said, the DAR formed to create their own organization who similarly define their patriotic feelings.

The parish courthouse bell, designed in 1886, was used for at least 70 years to alert Opelousas citizens of fires, danger, trial decisions.