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September 10, 2009 12:35 am




James Madison's Montpelier Estate announced that Lynne Cheney will be keynote speaker at the estate's celebration of Consitution Day Sept. 17.

Mrs. Cheney is the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and has authored several books, including "We the People: The Story of Our Constitution."

"We are honored to welcome Mrs. Cheney to help us celebrate Constitution Day at the home of the father of the Constitution," Michael C. Quinn, president of the Montpelier Foundation, said in a press release.

Montpelier is opening its grounds free of charge to the general public from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Constitution Day.

The program of events starts at 12:15 p.m. Festivities include a performance by the Marine Corps band, and an address by Quinn.

As well as the addresses by Quinn and Cheney, re-enactors from McLean High School will be on hand to entertain guests.

Other attractions include the Madison family cemetery and a slave cemetery, two miles of walking trails through old-growth forest and exhibitions of some of Madison's furniture.

As a politician, Madison was responsible for the Bill of Rights, as well as the idea that the new nation needed a system of checks and balances. Madison is known as the "father of the Constitution."

With John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, he crafted a series of essays on the burgeoning government that would become the Federalist Papers.

Madison also served as fourth president of the United States, and led the nation through the War of 1812.

Not to be outdone, Madison's wife, Dolley, inspired the term "first lady" and coordinated the escape from the White House after it was set alight by British soldiers during the War of 1812.

Aaron Richardson: 540/374-5000, ext. 5617

What: James Madison's Montpelier Constitution Day Celebration. Where: 11395 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station When: Sept. 17, 9:30-5:30 p.m., Event starts at 12:15 p.m. Cost: Free Info: 540-672-2728;

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