The Daughters of the American Revolution
A couple of months ago, I received a call from Susie Morrison who asked if I would be willing to be a guest speaker at the Fayette Starr’s Mill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The requested topic would be “The Constitution and God,” since the members of the DAR would be kicking off Constitution Week. I immediately accepted.
Truthfully, I had no prior first-hand knowledge of the DAR. What I did know was limited. I knew that members of the DAR had to be lineal descendants of a patriot of the American Revolution. I knew that, where I was from at least, the members were thought to all be from the upper crust of society and, therefore, a bit snooty.
Well, while the members are required to be descendants (and be able to prove it) and, while their families have been part of the American fabric for at least 200+ years, the ladies of the DAR that I met on Monday were among the most gracious and friendly I have ever met. Not a snooty bone in the bunch.
I did experience a few surprises: First of all, I was unaware of just how patriotic the DAR truly is. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, a corporate reading from the Preamble of the Constitution, a reading together of what it meant to be an American, the singing of the National Anthem, a devotional by the Chapter chaplain, and a prayer. There was a 9/11 display that honored those who died in that terrible tragedy and reports were given about how the chapter assists veterans and wounded warriors. And, of course, the guest speaker spoke on “The Constitution and God.”
Another learning experience was how actively involved the DAR is in so many areas of service. One impressive project is the support of Tamassee School. In 1914, the future was bleak for children living in the isolated mountain areas of northwestern South Carolina. With no schools near their homes, many were faced with the probability of a life of poverty and illiteracy. Motivated by a desire to improve the quality of life in this region and a commitment by their organization to aid education, the South Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution voted to establish a school “in a place remote, yet accessible, where the need seems greatest.”
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the upper northwest corner of South Carolina, the Cherokee Indians had named the area, Tamassee, translated as the “Place of the Sunlight of God.” The location offered 110 acres of land which included a spring. Businessmen in the nearby town of Walhalla offered $1,000 toward a school building, and the men of the mountain community signed a petition asking the school to come. The school continues to provide quality residential education to disadvantaged children, many of whom come from crisis situations.
But Tamassee is only one of a plethora of projects this local chapter tackles. After all the reports were given I jokingly remarked to Sylvia Nolde, Regent of the chapter, that I was exhausted just thinking about all the projects and activities with which the DAR was involved.
The Fayette Starr’s Mill Chapter is a young group, just a few years old, but expects to have 80 members soon, I was told. On Monday, one lady was installed as a new member and several other prospective members were introduced. Last Monday, the group met at First Baptist Church, although most meetings are held in the homes of members, contributing to the warmth and fellowship of the chapter.
The group has already received numerous awards, including awards for veteran’s projects, hospitality, school support, and in many other areas.
As I sat in the meeting, I couldn’t help but think about some of those men who fought in the American War for Independence. They suffered mightily and sacrificed greatly so that their children and grandchildren would have an opportunity to thrive and contribute in a free nation.
Now, 235 years after they first took up arms, their dreams are still being realized: here were the descendants of their grandchildren doing just that — thriving and contributing in a nation that is still free. The patriots would be proud of their Daughters of the American Revolution.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org.). He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Persons interested in the local DAR chapter may obtain additional information at http://fayettestarrsmill.georgiastatedar.org/index.html or by sending an email to email@example.com.]