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By Lois Thomson

Walking through the door of the Constitution & Godly Heritage Discovery Center in Elizabeth is like stepping back into American history a few hundred years.  But it's a history you may not even know.

 

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Rick Saccone and his wife, Yong, established the Heritage Center earlier this year.

Rick Saccone and his wife, Yong, turned an old storage building on their property into a museum-type setting that features items Saccone has been collecting for 30 years.  A former state representative (2010 – 2018), Saccone said he used to display his collection in his office in Harrisburg, and also at Saint Vincent College where he taught for 15 years.  "When I retired from that, I thought, 'What am I going to do with all of this?'"

The answer was to design a place that focuses on the U.S. Constitution and America's founders and godly heritage.  Upon entering, you will see a large copy of the Constitution on the far wall, serving as a centerpiece for the rest of the room.  The exhibit begins with the story of William Penn and goes through President Abraham Lincoln.

Exhibits feature portraits and displays on men such as George Washington, John Jay, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson.  "They all carry the message of how America was founded on godly principles," Saccone said.  "John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and he would hold an altar call after sentencing a criminal.  Washington knew everything he did would be a precedent, so when taking office he swore on the Bible, 'So help me God.'  He also consecrated the country at St. Paul's Chapel in New York.  Jefferson called this country's liberties a gift from God."  Other displays include a model of the USS Constitution, otherwise known as "Old Ironsides," and dioramas of battles from the Revolutionary War.

Saccone said, "We bring tours through, by appointment only, because we're not always here, and you need somebody to explain it – it's better if you have a guide.  We have groups every week – patriotic groups, civic groups, churches, scouts, a book club from Latrobe that was studying Common Sense by Thomas Paine.  They're really diverse."

He added that even some teachers who bring classes are not aware of this history.  "There are so many great founders who were godly men and we need to hear their story.  When kids come and hear the great stories of our founders, they're in awe.  They're thirsty for our history, they have never heard this.

"This is history, and we need to start telling the story.  It's a free resource, I don't charge anything.  It's Yong's and my way of giving back to the community for all the blessings we've received over the years."

For tour appointments, call 412-751-7394.

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The Constitution & Godly Heritage Discovery Center features displays and the history of America's founders.
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The Constitution & Godly Heritage Discovery Center features displays and the history of America's founders.

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