Burke County Charters of Freedom, Morganton
The Charters of Freedom monument replicates the display for the Declaration of Independence,
U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as they are done at the National Archives in Washington,
D.C. The three displays exhibit the Declaration of Independence on the left, the Constitution
(four pages) in the center and the Bill of Rights on the right. The center display measures 12’ x
4’ x 3.5’ to 4.5’ and the side displays measure 4’ x 4’ x 3.5’ to 4.5’. The rear of the left display
has a Charters of Freedom information plaque and the right rear display contains a dedication
plaque. The rear of the center display holds a time capsule with a description plaque. There are
two small plaques on the front edge of the center monument – one says “We The People,” and
the other lists the names of the North Carolina Representatives who signed the Constitution;
John Penn, Joseph Hewes and William Hooper. These are raised lettering to allow school
children to do rubbings. Incised in the stone on each display is its name; DECLARATION OF
INDEPENDENCE, UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, BILL OF RIGHTS. The center display has the
Charters of Freedom seal on a front panel. The granite and glass displays were built to last 300-
500 years. The time capsule at this monument along with others in North Carolina and across
the country will be opened concurrently on September 17, 2087 – the 300th Anniversary of the
Images (courtesy of Foundation Forward, Inc., http://www.chartersoffreedom.com): Far-off view | Side view | Declaration of Independence | Time capsule plaque | Dedication plaque | View of the Confederate monument with the Burke County Charters of Freedom memorial on the far left
Dedication Plaque: THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM / GIFTED BY THE PATTERSONS / VANCE AND
MARY JO, CODY, MATT, MEGAN, DEVIN / TO THE CITIZENS OF BURKE COUNTY, NORTH
CAROLINA / ON JULY 2, 2014
“…WHEREVER THE PEOPLE ARE WELL INFORMED THEY / CAN BE TRUSTED WITH THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT” / - THOMAS JEFFERSON – 1789
“… A PEOPLE WHO MEAN TO BE THEIR OWN / GOVERNORS, MUST ARM THEMSELVES WITH THE / POWER KNOWLEDGE GIVES.” - / JAMES MADISON – 1822
“YOU CANNOT CONTROL WHAT YOU DO NOT / UNDERSTAND.” – VANCE PATTERSON – 2013
FOUNDATION FORWARD, INC. / VANCE AND MARY JO PATTERSON - FOUNDERS
Information Plaque: THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM / THE ORIGINAL CHARTERS OF FREEDOM ARE ON / DISPLAY IN THE ROTUNDA AT THE NATIONAL / ARCHIVES IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS / ADOPTED ON JULY 4, 1776
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION WAS ADOPTED / SEPTEMBER 17, 1787, RATIFIED IN 1788, AND / WENT INTO EFFECT MARCH4, 1788
THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS PROPOSED SEPTEMBER / 25, 1789, AS 12 AMENDMENTS; TEN WERE / RATIFIED DECEMBER 15, 1791. THE REMAINING / TWO WERE NOT RATIFIED BUT APPEAR ON THE / ORIGINAL DOCUMENT. THESE FIRST TEN / AMENDMENTS RATIFIED ARE OUR BILL OF RIGHTS.
Time Capsule Plaque: THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM / TIME CAPSULE / TO BE OPENED ON / CONSTITUTION DAY / SEPTEMBER 17, 2087 / TO CELEBRATE THE / 300TH ANNIVERSARY ADOPTION OF / THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Children and citizens of Burke County
July 2, 2014
35.745630 , -81.687970 View in Geobrowse
“Local Leaders Dedicate, Celebrate Charters of Freedom Monument,” Morgantonnc.gov, July 3, 2014, (accessed July 20, 2016) Link
“Morganton, North Carolina – Burke County,” Charters of Freedom, Foundation Forward, Inc., http://www.chartersoffreedom.com, (accessed July 7, 2016) Link
“The Charters of Freedom,” National Archives and Records, www.archives.gov, (accessed July 25, 2016) Link
Concrete, granite, bronze
Vance Patterson and family
City of Morganton and Burke County representatives, community leaders and citizens gathered at the old Burke County courthouse for the Charter of Freedom dedication ceremony. Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen thanked the donor, Vance Patterson, for the gift and noted that many people do not have the time or resources to visit the original Charters of Freedom in Washington, D.C. During Mr. Patterson’s comments he said that people asked why he was doing this. His reply was “Because it’s very important. Our Founding Fathers believed that in order to have a free independent society, you must understand how government works.” Patterson said that he hoped that the Charters would be used a teaching tool to remind students and residents of the ideals and freedoms spelled out in America's Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
Bronze documents: Tragart Bronze Company, Champaign, Illinois. Granite panels: Goldsprings Granite, Minnesota. Glass: Ace Glass, Columbia, SC. Bronze Plaque: Burke Memorial Park, Morganton, NC. Monument foundation: Suttlemyre Construction
The foundation is reinforced, poured concrete. The structures are reinforced, poured concrete covered with four inch thick polished granite. Each of the six documents is one quarter inch thick etched bronze weighing over 60 pounds.
Charters of Freedom Monuments are being placed across the United States by Foundation Forward, Inc. The foundation’s goal is to provide educational resources to children and citizens in the communities in which Charters of Freedom have been placed. The idea that evolved into Foundation Forward began on May 3, 2012 while Vance and Mary Jo Patterson were attending the National Day of Prayer meeting being held at the on the Old Burke County Courthouse Green in Morganton. The idea came to Mr. Patterson to try and duplicate his experiences when he and his wife had viewed the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights on a visit to the National Archives. He determined to bring that experience to the citizens of Burke County. The first monument was dedicated on July 2, 2014 at the Old Burke County Courthouse. Several dozen additional monuments have since been placed or are planned across North Carolina and in at least nine other states. Among already dedicated Charters of Freedom monuments are memorial complexes in Buncombe and Cherokee counties.
The memorial complex stands on the east side of the Historic Burke County Courthouse, which is located at 102 East Union Street, Morganton, NC. A Confederate Monument stands on the northwest corner of the courthouse grounds and a statue to Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. stands directly in front (south side) of the courthouse which now houses the Historic Burke Foundation, Heritage Museum, and the Visitor Information Center.
The memorial complex is situated on the courthouse green, a park like area with well-maintained yard and mature trees.
The memorial complex is an educational resource for local schools, patriotic and religious celebrations and thoughtful contemplation.