I know you are all dying to hear about my Pennsylvania State Society of Daughters of the American Revolution conference from last week! Here are the highlights (in order of how fun or wonderful I thought they were):
- At our Saturday night banquet, we were entertained by the Ambridge Area High School Steel Drum Band. That’s right. Steel drums. Let me just say this: you’ve never seen a bunch of dressed to the nines ladies get down like we did that night. There was even a conga line! I’m trying to book this band for our writer’s conference too…or should I say I’m trying to convince our board to book them. These kids are a ton of fun AND talent.
- Saturday afternoon memorial service. The neatest, most moving memorial service I’ve ever seen. First, in the parking lot (we were driven to a local church for this event), a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. Inside, we had our own chorus that sang a few hymns and the members sung some as well. To begin, we listed off the state officers that had died in the last year. Each was given a small eulogy by someone who knew them or was from their chapter. It was inspiring to hear how these women had lived their life in service to their country, their communities and to the DAR. After each eulogy, a lily was inserted into a wreath for that person. Then others (regents, members and members at large) who had died in the last year names were read (with their chapter name and, sometimes their age or years of service if over a certain amount) and then carnations were placed in the wreath for each. Past regents got red carnations, members at large were blue and the rest white. I couldn’t believe how beautifully this wreath came together. The care taken in every aspect of this service was noteworthy. Lastly, this completed wreath was taken outside and laid on the grave of a Revolutionary War soldier in the church’s cemetery. No member of the DAR, no patriot is ever forgotten.
- In general, the overall kindness, compassion and dedication to service these ladies exude is beyond reproach. I saw money in the thousands given to various parts of our organization that helps children, wounded veterans, and the needy. During one luncheon, close to 200 backpacks (filled with school supplies) were collected and delivered to Liberty U.S.O.’s center at Fort Indiantown Gap. These backpacks are for needy military children. They will receive these bags prior to going back to school in the fall. I personally helped my friend Cris carry a few of these and I can tell you, they were PACKED. And they were given simply out of the goodness of people’s hearts. We also heard from leaders from DAR sponsored schools. (To learn more visit here.) Each of these schools is given financial assistance by DAR members, including scholarships, material donations, and genuine personal interest. Over $1 million is given annually by the DAR to support these schools. Good citizenship and love of country are taught at all of these schools. We even heard from two students from the Kate Duncan Smith school…. oh, how I wish you could have met this kids. How well spoken! How country-centered. This is how we need to be educating our children and I’m glad to be part of an organization who does just that. You can help too – see the website for more info.
- One last thing. At the beginning of every session, it is DAR protocol to stand for the U.S. flag as it processes into the room, to say the Pledge of Allegiance – sometimes we even sing the National Anthem (oh, how heart swelling it is to hear a room full of women sing this beautiful song), to recite the America’s Creed and to pray. God, Home and Country are our focus. How can you possibly go wrong with that?
In all, I had a terrific time. There was some stress that comes with travel and from learning the protocols, etc. of what’s expected, but, in the end, I can say that I’ve never been more proud of my country and of being a DAR member. If you think you might have a Revolutionary War patriot in your lineage and you’d like to be part of this special and worthy organization, please go to http://www.dar.org/ to learn more.