Hillsborough's annual Bill of Rights Day Community bell-ringing event started back in 2012 and this marks the eighth year it will occur, the only place in the nation that celebrates Bill of Rights Day in such a fun meaningful way. Instead of speeches, Bells will ring all over Hillsboro for as many seconds as the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, have been in force since they were adopted December 15th 1791.
That means that this year, 2019, the community bell-ringing event will last 228 seconds or 3 minutes and 48 seconds, making it the shortest celebration of an American holiday and also the most fun as bells ring all over Hillsborough from church belfries to the merchant District to the Regulator Historic Site (200 East King Street in Cameron Park).
This is an event open to all ages and is free and gives new meaning to the phrase "Let Freedom Ring." In Hillsborough, we have figured out a way to celebrate the "Last Great American Holiday" and of course, my hope is that one day Bells will ring from Hillsborough to Honolulu across all five time zones that make up the continental United States of America and anywhere in the world where people are in support of these great principles and the brave men and women in uniform who place their lives on the line to defend the Constitution of the United States which includes these Bill of Rights and all the additional amendments that have been adopted since its founding.
As in years past, if you are in Hillsborough on December 15th at 1:00PM, you may very well hear the historic church bellfries of 5 of the historic churches of different denominations in the historic district ring their bells. For the past seven years, participating churches have included Saint Matthews Episcopal Church, Dickerson Chapel AME Church, Hillsborough Presbyterian Church, Hillsborough United Methodist Church, and First Baptist Church of Hillsborough.
The public is invited to "bring bells, ring bells" of all types and sizes especially at the main Historic Site which is the regulator Historic Site 200 East King Street in Cameron Park where six Brave Patriots died exercising those rights in 1771. There was no Bill of Rights to protect them at that point. It's one reason why in 1788 when North Carolina's constitutional convention was held in Hillsborough to consider ratifying what was then the new US Constitution, delegates voted to postpone ratifying the Constitution until Provisions were made for introducing a Bill of Rights to Congress and the ratifying states. That became the Tipping Point for why Congress took up this issue when it convened under the new Constitution in the Spring of 1789 and why eventually those first 10 amendments become the ones we call the Bill of Rights. North Carolina has the distinction of being the only state to vote that way and the only one that had a second convention once those amendments were introduced to Congress and the ratifying states. That was North Carolina's price of admission to join the new United States under the new US Constitution.