The Festive and Busy December Board Week

Written by: Ann Dillon, President General
December 12, 2016

Last week was very busy at DAR Headquarters with our December Executive Committee Meetings! This week was filled with festive holiday fun and of course a good deal of business and meetings. A lot was accomplished and we look forward to implementing some of the new ideas.

The week began with the wonderful United States Army Band concert, “American Holiday Festival,” in Constitution Hall. The Army Band musicians are so incredibly talented and the concert was a great way to get into the holiday spirit. DAR Constitution Hall will also host the United States Air Force Band and the United States Navy Band holiday concerts this month.

On Wednesday, we walked the few blocks to the World War II Memorial for a ceremony observing the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.   WW II veterans were recognized and given beautiful quilts made by citizens of a grateful nation.  Remarks were given by Mr. Elliott “Toby” Roosevelt III, the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, and the Honorable John McCain, Senator from Arizona.  Wreaths were presented by patriotic and service organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution, represented by District of Columbia State Regent, Janet McFarland.

Each week of Executive Meetings one of the Executive Officers hosts a formal luncheon.  It is an opportunity for us to become better acquainted with one another.  Connie Olde, Reporter General, was our hostess on Wednesday and we learned about German holiday traditions and food.  Mrs. Olde was born in Germany and lived in Nurenberg until she was seven and a half.  Her father was stationed there as a cryptologist for his Army unit during the Nurenberg trials following WW II. To add to the festivities of the season, we brought toys and games to donate to Walter Reed Medical Center instead of exchanging gifts with one another. The toys will be given to Wounded Warriors to give to their children, since it is sometimes difficult for them to get out and Christmas shop.

Later that evening the 15th annual DAR Christmas Open House brought at least a thousand guests to see our beautiful buildings decorated with holly, garland, poinsettas, and bows.  I can’t believe it has been 15 years since this wonderful tradition began during the Watkins administration.  Our PR team found a picture of the execs at that first event and there was this future President General years younger!   The Open House is a wonderful opportunity for the public to learn more about our organization and valuable resources.  Everyone enjoyed touring the DAR Library and the DAR Museum period rooms, which currently feature the exhibit, “An Agreeable Tyrant: Fashion After the Revolution.” A new feature this year was the “DAR Christmas Open House Passport” which invited visitors to discover different locations around Headquarters and get a sticker for each location. It was a hit! The event also featured musicians, hot cocoa and cookies and visits with Santa. Special thanks to the Property Beautification and Hospitality Committee for their work decorating our Headquarters for the holidays. It is beautiful!

Friday, we celebrated the season with our employees by visiting each of the departments at Headquarters to sing some Holiday songs and to share some small gifts. A feast was planned for the afternoon with traditional and non-traditional fare including Prime Rib, Roast Turkey, Pad Thai and a groaning dessert table.  This was set in the Library, proceed by the Pennsylvania Foyer for the buffet and concluded at tables set in the O’Byrne Gallery where door prizes were distributed and festive songs were sung.  This is one of my favorite events of the year.  The staff is so tremendously appreciated and this is just a small way of saying, “Thanks!”

Because we were able to electronically vote on items from the Organizing Secretary General’s office, the special meeting of the National Board of Management was not needed and the Execs were be able to join their family and friends for the December holiday weekend.  It was a productive, fun week.

Please keep in mind that DAR Headquarters will be closed for an extended time during the holidays, from Saturday, December 24 through Sunday, January 1. DAR Headquarters will reopen on Monday, January 2. Be sure to conduct all your business with Headquarters (and get in your end of the year donations!) by Friday, December 23. Learn more here.

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