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Delaware, the First State to Ratify Constitution, Tosses Itself a Party

December 08, 1987|Associated Press

DOVER, Del. — Delaware threw itself a party with all the trimmings Monday, including the biggest parade ever held in the state capital, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the day the state became the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

"It's a very special day in Delaware. Probably the most special day we will ever see," Gov. Michael N. Castle told pupils at East Dover Elementary School.

But there were a few protesters because Castle had refused to declare the day a state holiday.

Castle and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger got an early start on the festivities with the elementary school visit.

Burger held a question-and-answer session with a fourth-grade class and explained the purpose of the Constitution.

"If you really want a horse to be useful, you put a harness on it. That's the way they framed the government, so it wouldn't hurt the people," said Burger, chairman of the federal Bicentennial Commission.

The largest parade ever held in Dover had every high school band in the state out marching. Also participating was the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.

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