National Monument to the U.S. Constitution
The National Monument to the U.S. Constitution (also known as the Constitution Bicentennial Monument) is a monument commissioned of Australian artist Brett-Livingstone Strong by Warren E. Burger, Chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. One of a pair created by Strong to commemorate historic anniversaries, along with The United States Presidency Monument, it was dedicated by President Ronald Reagan at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 17, 1987. Both monuments are the property of the Global EventMakers,Inc., a Florida based company with principal offices in Richmond, Virginia. The monument has been transported for display at several public events around the country and was scheduled to begin a twenty-city traveling exhibit as part of the Spirit of Freedom Tour beginning in September 2009. Due to poor economic conditions, The Tour never commenced; however the Monuments accompanying original replicas of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are being produced for placement in America's schools. All rights to the Constitution Monument and the Original Replicas of the Constitution were transferred to The American Constitution Spirit Foundation, a Virginia non-profit, in March of 2010. The Foundation plans to find a permanent home for the monument during 2013.
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Constructed of polychrome and patinated cire perdu (lost wax) cast silicon bronze and polished marble and granite, the monument stands 8'4" high and weighs just under 7 tons. The cast silicon bronze bald eagle symbolizes American's personal freedoms, independence, courage, pride and dignity. Below the eagle is a circular plinth between the eagle and the pedestal where replicas of the signatures of the United States Constitution are circumscribed. The octagonal pedestal is constructed of white marble and red and blue granite with white marble stars arranged to symbolize the American Flag.
In the late 1980s, the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution conceived of two monuments to commemorate United States history, one celebrating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution and another the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. presidency. Australian artist Brett Livingstone Strong was commissioned by former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who served as chairman of that Commission, to produce these monuments. At that time, the Commission intended that the monument would travel across the country as part of the national celebrations of the Constitution's bicentennial beginning in 1987.
The National Monument to the U.S. Constitution was officially dedicated at its unveiling at Independence Hall in Philadelphia by Ronald Reagan on the bicentennial, September 17, 1987. Both monuments were officially recognized, along with the five bronze original replica plaques, by the artist, of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
In 1989, both the National Monument to the U.S. Constitution and the United States Presidency Monument were the property of the American Spirit Corporation, affiliated with the non-profit American Spirit Foundation. In 1990, the American Spirit Corporation allowed a lien to be placed on the monument to the U.S. Presidency collateral for unpaid attorneys fees of $110,000.00 owed to a law firm in Los Angeles, CA.Subsequently the foundation was dissolved and the two monuments were owned by different parties until they were reunited in 2004.
Although the monument did not tour as planned in 1987, it was displayed in a parade celebrating the bicentennial in Philadelphia. It was also featured at the "Spirit of Freedom Country Music Festival" in The Plains, Virginia in 1989 and, in 1990, the Rose Bowl Parade. The monument was taken to Richmond, Virginia where in January 1990 it was the centerpiece for the Gubernatorial inaugural celebration of Douglas Wilder. In 2003, it was relocated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. The American Constitution Spirit Foundation plans to find a permanent home for the National Monument to the U.S. Constitution in 2013.
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