Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, along with several other National Park sites, is celebrating Constitution Week and the 225th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. Charles Pinckney was a principle author and signer of the Constitution. The park preserves a remant of his Mount Pleasant plantation as the only signer's property preserved by the National Park Service. Events this week celebrate not only Charles Pinckney's role at the Constitutional Convention but also citizenship, plantation life in 18th century America, and the struggle to form a new nation.
The celebration kicked off on Tuesday, September 18th, when 120 people from 50 countries took the Oath of Allegiance. For the 15th year, the National Park Service hosted the United States District Court and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for a naturalization ceremony at the park. The candidates were presented by USCIS Field Office Director Wendy Wilcox and the Oath of Allegiance was administered by US District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel.
This was Judge Gergel's second year holding court at Charles Pinckney NHS, a task in which he takes great pride as the descendant of immigrants from Poland and Russia. In his remarks, Judge Gergel reminded the new citizens of their rights and responsibilities as Americans. Three new citizens needed little reminder of their responsibilities as current and former members of the United States Armed Forces.
The park welcomed over 700 visitors throughout the day including family and friends of candidates as well as over 150 local students. Superintendent Tim Stone welcomed visitors and citizenship candidates by challenging them to take ownership of their National Parks, inviting them "...to join us in our mission to protect the parks." Superintendent Stone added, "Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is an appropriate venue because it is a place where one can reflect on the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of American citizenship.”
The park will continue to offer visitors opportunities to celebrate the Constitution throughout the week. Visitors can add their signature to the Constitution by signing a scroll that will be exhibited at a public school, pick up a free pocket copy of the Constitution, and explore the Constitution virtually on the National Constitution Center's website through a kiosk inside the Visitor Center provided by the League of Women Voters. Additionally, the park will welcome hundreds of fourth graders from local schools on Friday for a day of 18th Century living history activities and will offer special viewings of the full length version of the film "Forgotten Founder" at 2:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.