I arrived in our Nation’s Capital during the historic weekend surrounding the activities of the Presidential Inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington. Given the close proximity of our DAR Headquarters Building to the White House and National Mall, some members have inquired about our building after seeing photos and reports of participants of the March leaving their signs around the city.
Let me assure you that our building and property are fine. There was no vandalism and the Founders Monument is still beautiful with no damage.
Yes, an incredible number of signs were left all around the city, on the grounds of our neighbors, and on various statues that might normally go unnoticed. Our Founders Monument was among the many places where signs were left. Our property was cleared quickly and no damage was done. Rain caused one of the signs to fade blue ink onto the base of the monument, but by morning the same rain washed away any remaining ink. The signs were quickly picked up by Sunday morning at no additional expense.
I am grateful that our members are passionate and protective of our building and the Founders Monument, but it seems that discussion on social media has led to some political arguments. One of the things that I most appreciate about our organization is that we can have differing opinions, yet still serve our country with energy and passion. Our members come from diverse backgrounds and hold various political beliefs, but the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is a nonpolitical organization. DAR members join together in their love of country and common descent from the men and women who began our nation.
Let me reiterate my President General’s Message from the January/February 2017 issue of the Daughters newsletter and posted on the Members’ Website:
Our members are passionate about this country. May that always be true! I hope and believe that the DAR is an organization that demonstrates civility and the courtesy to respect one another’s opinions. Without that attitude our country will not survive, much less move forward.
Read the entire President General’s Message below:
As January brings us to another new year, it offers us a time to reflect and to set new (or old, but unfinished) goals. Promises of new beginnings keep us moving forward into this new year with a renewed sense of service. I hope you will embrace the opportunities to serve your communities and our nation that come your way.
This month we will also see the inauguration of a new President of the United States. After a particularly divisive and emotional election, it is important to reaffirm that the DAR is a nonpolitical, nonpartisan organization. While our members are active in supporting our country and promoting civic responsibility, we do not use the platform of our organization as a forum for political discussion, nor to endorse candidates, nor to lobby political issues. We respect the varying personal political affiliations of all our members.
DAR has long shown respect to elected officials at the local and national levels, but such respect does not constitute an endorsement of their political policies. States and chapters are welcome to invite political office holders to bring greetings or speak at their DAR gatherings in a nonpartisan atmosphere. If you invite an elected official to speak at a meeting, remind him or her that DAR is not a political entity, and that controversial opinions should be avoided.
Personally, what has concerned me most during this electioncycle is the lack of respect for opinions other than our own. Are we so fearful of one another that we cannot respect our differences? What became of the nation created by Patrick Henry’s cry, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it”? When we silence another’s opinion, we nullify the right to express our own. What makes this country great has always been the foundation laid by our ancestors to provide checks and balances, to anticipate differing opinions and to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.
The DAR has come a long way from the time when we were perceived as an organization consisting of a single political mindset. We are proud of the diversity in our members’ backgrounds and beliefs. Our members are passionate about this country. May that always be true! I hope and believe that the DAR is an organization that demonstrates civility and the courtesy to respect one another’s opinions. Without that attitude our country will not survive, much less move forward.
As you reflect on your chapter’s successes from the past year and plan for new initiatives in the year ahead, take this opportunity to join together with your fellow members to work as a team. We are stronger when we work together and forming friendships at the chapter level is what keeps us connected.
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I always remember a friend who told me that love is not a feeling but a choice. May you choose to contemplate what is important to you and to one another and consider that Service to America may very well begin at home.
Moving Forward in Service to America,
Ann T. Dillon