It was such fun to return to South Carolina to attend the SCDAR Fall Forum, Dot Lind, State Regent. Having been a guest at the South Carolina State Conference in 2009, it was delightful to greet old friends and make new ones. Lucky for me I had the same thoughtful Page, Elizabeth Burns, that I had five years ago and she even remembered the type of coffee I prefer!
Warmly welcomed at the Columbia airport by Donna Holley and Chaplain General Ann Crider, we stopped briefly into the newly remodeled USO. We learned that this important center welcomes over 7,000 soldiers monthly at the Columbia airport because of its proximity to Fort Jackson, the largest Army basic training facility at which over 45,000 soldiers are trained annually. Computers, televisions and video games are available for the soldiers as well as snacks, all of which are donated. I know the many DAR members who volunteer across the country are deeply appreciated.
Presented with two beautiful Charleston Sweetgrass baskets full of South Carolina goodies, I learned that Sweetgrass baskets are handmade and are among the earliest forms of art brought to America by slaves who used them to carry harvested rice. These beautiful baskets are truly treasures!
Speaking of treasures, State Curator Penny Renwick has preserved an important part of the South Carolina DAR history which I’ll share in a future blog. Penny and I are very distant cousins and are still searching for our Renwick patriot. Hopefully, the latest publication of the DAR Library, South Carolina in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians, which is available as a PDF download through the DAR Store, will have the resources we need.
Following a banquet Friday evening at which I shared the objectives of the Young Administration, it was gratifying to host a breakfast Saturday morning for members of the Heritage Club and Founders Club and to express appreciation for their gifts to the National Society. Workshops were held Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and I enjoyed visiting the committee exhibits and the Junior Shoppe and learning how the South Carolina Daughters are promoting the objectives of the National Society.
Since 1919, many of the members have donated their resources and their time at Tamassee DAR School located in Tamassee, SC. In fact, Walhalla Chapter recently hosted a golf tournament in which over $35,000 for was raised for the school which is enough to support one child for a year! I was delighted to be presented with a scrapbook of the Tamassee JAC club showing the ways in which the students Celebrate America! Two of the lovely students paged and CEO Amy Twitty presented an amazing rendition of our Administration’s emblem and scripture, drawn by a very talented student.
Another very talented South Carolina artist and member, Carol Sue Roberts, donated a magnificent painting of the Texas Hill country. It reminds me of one of the roads on our ranch and the painting has already found a home in my office in Washington.
South Carolina is called the Palmetto State because the palmetto trees were used to fortify Fort Moultrie which American soldiers successfully defended during the Revolutionary War. In fact, South Carolina was the site of some of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War and the members participate in commemoration of the battles as well as marking the grave of Brig. General Francis Marion, respectfully called The Swamp Fox.
The Old Exchange Building has been owned and preserved by the Rebecca Motte Chapter since 1917. This building is significant to the history of South Carolina because the residents protested the British Tea Tax in 1773 and South Carolina declared its independence from England from the steps of this building in 1776. South Carolina’s Constitutional Convention was held there in 1778 and President Washington attended a ball held there in his honor in 1791. I had the privilege of visiting this magnificent building and the dungeon below and encourage you to do so when in Charleston.
Between the active support of Project Patriot Committee, historic preservation and devoted service to Tamassee, Daughters of the Palmetto State truly are Celebrating America!