Friday, June 9, 2017

First Charters of Freedom Monument in Kentucky to Debut in Fort Thomas During Sesquicentennial

Vance Patterson supervises the initial construction of the Charters of Freedom monument. 
You might be wondering why crews are digging in Tower Park near the museum. They are laying the foundations for the Charters of Freedom monument, the first one in Kentucky.

A few years ago Vance Patterson and his wife Mary Jo visited the National Archives in Washington DC because they had never seen The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. It was the first time that either had viewed those documents and it was emotional.

The Your Charters of Freedom website (www.chartersoffreedom.com), Paterson recalls “Seeing something our founding fathers had actually penned, and then their signatures - Thomas Je­fferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Rutledge and the others - I got goosebumps. And, when I moved over and saw the first page of The Constitution and the words, ‘We The People,’ I actually got a lump in my throat.”

It wasn’t long after the visit that he got the idea to create the monuments. Their first installation was in Morganton, North Carolina. And on July 2, 2014 the first Charters of Freedom Monument was dedicated in downtown Morganton, North Carolina.

The first Charters of Freedom project in North Carolina.
Why Fort Thomas? Patterson says,  “Jan [Haas] is my sister, which makes Eric my (favorite) brother-in-law.  They have watched the progress of Foundation Forward for the past three years setting monuments in communities in North and South Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois.  This has always been an educational project and with Jan owning and running her own Montessori School it was natural for her to be interested and have a passion for what we are doing.  She and Eric suggested I make a presentation to the Ft. Thomas City Council … and it was unanimously decided to accept and provide a proper setting for the documents.”

The Fort Thomas design is “based on the setting of the original Charters of Freedom Documents in the National Archives in Washington, D.C…. Setting these documents outside is a challenge.… These settings are built to last 300 to 500 years with minimal maintenance.  The foundation goes down 3' and is solid reinforced poured concrete.  The core is solid, again with reinforced poured concrete. The fascia will be brick to match the surrounding buildings - document chambers will be Indiana Limestone as will the capstone. The documents are life sized.  Each of the six documents is on 1/4" etched bronze and each weighs over 60 pounds. The document chambers are covered with 1/2" treated polycarbonate, very similar to bullet proof glass. There is a vault in the back of the center monument with a safe for a time capsule.  Letters and memorabilia will be placed in the time capsule and sealed until September 17, 2087, the 300th Anniversary of the Constitution.  On that Constitution Day all time capsules around the country will be opened. Should be a pretty cool day.” Yes it will.

In addition to the documents, the monument will honor the three area Medal of Honor recipients as well as engraved donor bricks.  The surrounding plaza should will provide some room for visiting students or other groups. Patterson says that the July 4th dedication will be “an awesome experience for all who attend and take part.”

You can be a part of the monument. Donations can be made as follows:

1) Mailing a check to:

Fort Thomas Development Corp
C/o Derek R. Durbin
1044 North Fort Thomas Avenue
Fort Thomas, KY 41075

2)  Giving cash or check made to Ft. Thomas Development Corp to either Derek Durbon or Joe Grimme, who head the fundraising committee.

3) Or you can go to the following website and make a donation:

https://www.gofundme.com/chartersoffreedom

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