Arizona State Capitol located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona State Capitol located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

On Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010, dignitaries along with descendants of the 52 original 1910 delegates, special guests and Arizona residents gathered in the Old Senate Chambers of the Arizona State Capitol Museum to celebrate the Arizona Constitutional Convention Centennial. Popular radio personality Dave Pratt welcomed a standing-room-only crowd to the 2 p.m. event.

Dave Pratt welcomes dignitaries and guests to the Arizona Constitutional Convention Centennial celebration.

Dave Pratt welcomes dignitaries and guests to the Arizona Constitutional Convention Centennial celebration.

“Yeah, this is a day of celebration; isn’t it?” said Pratt. “I love Arizona, how about you?” Pratt explained how 100 years ago 52 men representing every region in the Arizona territory met for two straight months in the room directly across the hall to form a document to take Arizona to statehood.-The Arizona Constitution.

Pratt asked the crowd to stand as the Arizona Rough Riders entered and presented the colors  Everyone remained standing as they said the Pledge of Allegiance. As the crowd took their seats, Pratt introduced the dignitaries present.

Gov. Janice Brewer addresses the crowd and reads the proclamation.

Gov. Janice Brewer addresses the crowd and reads the proclamation.

Gov. Janice Brewer took the podium and thanked volunteers for allowing her to participate in the celebration. She read the proclamation to commemorate the Constitutional Convention. She said, “Now wherefore I, Jan Brewer, governor of the state of Arizona do hereby proclaim Dec. 9, 2010 as a day to commemorate our 100th anniversary of the Arizona Constitutional Convention and encourage all residents to consider, review and appreciate the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us.”  

Marshall Trimble sings "I Love You Arizona."

Marshall Trimble sings "I Love You Arizona."

Next up, Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, played his guitar and sang “I Love You Arizona.” 

Gov. Jan Brewer, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Honorable Rebecca Albrecht surround 1863 document.

Gov. Jan Brewer, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Honorable Rebecca Albrecht surround 1863 document.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett said the celebration includes the 100th anniversary of the Arizona Constitution and the 52 men who gathered and “established the framework for the state we enjoy today.”

He read the simple preamble, “We the people of the State of Arizona grateful to our Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.”

The Arizona Constitution protects individual’s freedom like the United States Constitution, said Bennett. “Today we celebrate the rebellion of the place.”

Bennett introduced the Honorable Rebecca Albrecht, former judge of Maricopa County Superior Court. Albrecht on behalf of the Arizona Historical Foundation presented the state of Arizona with the organic document signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Aug. 21, 1863, which made Arizona a territory.

After the festivities conclude, Bennett encouraged everyone to come up and look at the document. He also encouraged the crowd to view the Capitol Museum exhibit honoring Arizona’s Constitution titled “We the People of Arizona.”

Jody Drake performs Sharlot Hall's poem "Arizona."

Jody Drake performs Sharlot Hall's poem "Arizona."

“Joining us in spirit from 100 years ago, Ms. Sharlot Hall,” said Pratt.

Jody Drake, decked out in appropriate 100 year-old western attire, portrayed the character of Sharlot Hall as she recited her poem, “Arizona.”

The festivities wound up with the presentation of the descendents of some of the 52 men, who hammered out Arizona’s Constitution in the fall of 1910. Guests gathered up front to see the organic document and then proceeded to the first floor of the museum to enjoy refreshments.

Photos by Janice Semmel

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