A Festive and Productive Board Week

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
December 12, 2014

As always we had another full and productive Executive Board week at Headquarters. We covered quite a bit of important business, but we also found time for some fun and special events as well. I will tell you in more detail about some of the activities of the week later on, but I wanted to give you a quick overview and share some photos.

On Sunday we participated in a very moving ceremony at the WWII Memorial for Pearl Harbor Day including welcoming an Honor Flight group of Pearl Harbor survivors from Austin, Texas.  It was wonderful to greet one of my personal Pages, Zia Lowe, and her family.  Zia’s grandfather, Dorwin D.  Hill, was among the Pearl Harbor survivors on the Honor Flight, accompanied by his grandson, Troy Hill, a Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two speakers for the ceremony were both speakers at the 123rd Continental Congress – Admiral Michelle Howard and Lt. General Claude M. Kicklighter, USA (Ret.) It was fascinating to hear some of the stories of the 13 veterans, ranging in age from 91-95.  I was seated next to Jim Leavelle, who not only survived Pearl Harbor, but was the Dallas police officer handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby.  I’ll never forget the photogram of the shock on his face.

Later that afternoon we were thrilled to attend the United States Army Band holiday concert in our very own Constitution Hall. They put on a wonderfully entertaining performance that put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

Monday, the Executive Officers and I were pleased to welcome a delegation from Malága Province, Spain, home of Bernardo de Galvez, to our DAR Headquarters. In 1783 the first Continental Congress passed a resolution to honor General Bernardo de Galvez for his help in the American Revolution by hanging his portrait in the “place where Congress meets”.  DAR supported the efforts to have a portrait of Bernando De Galvez hung in the United States Capitol. You can read more about this long journey in this Washington Post article. During their visit they presented us with a wonderful gift of a replica of the Galveztown ship to thank us for our help. On Tuesday I was pleased to attend the dedication ceremony of the Galvez portrait in the Senate Foreign Relations Room. It was wonderful to see the portrait hang in the U.S. Capitol and their goal achieved. 

In combination with these efforts, a Spanish group producing a documentary film of the history of Bernardo De Galvez, his impact on the United States and the relationship between the US, Spain and Mexico, was in town filming the portrait dedication ceremony and other events this week. I was honored to be interviewed for the documentary and speak about the importance of Bernardo de Galvez to American Independence. I shared with them the 1925 edition of the Churchill books listing the men who served with Galvez and talked about how our organization is dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the Patriots of the American Revolution including Galvez and other Spaniards who contributed to the cause. The documentary is scheduled to be completed this spring, but you can see a sneak-peek trailer for it here (keep your eye out for some Florida Daughters): http://youtu.be/hj3dxYMIiJI

While I was with the Spanish film group, your Executive Committee enjoyed visiting the White House to see the holiday décor. 

Denise VanBuren, Organizing Secretary General, hosted a formal luncheon on Wednesday.  The table was beautifully decorated to reflect New York’s Dutch heritage. The Dutch Colony of New Netherlands ceded to England 350 years ago.  With a St. Nicholas Day Celebration theme, we had a delicious luncheon of Dutch food, none of which we could pronounce.

Wednesday evening we welcomed more than 1,200 visitors to our beautiful Headquarters for the 13th annual DAR Christmas Open House. Visitors generously donated more than 500 children’s books for our Open House book drive for local children in collaboration with Books for America. Guests were invited to tour our Museum, Library and Americana Room and visited with Santa while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies! It was wonderful to mingle with guests and tell them more about our amazing organization.

Thursday afternoon the Executives were delighted to have Alden O’Brien, DAR Museum Curator of Textiles and Costumes give a tour of the fabulous Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia exhibit.  Alden is a well-known expert in the field of historic textiles and her passion for the history of the quilts is contagious.

I was surprised to see Cindy Weatherby of Florida in the Library all week and delighted when she and a team of volunteers surprised me with a supplemental on Isaac Gross, whose line had previously been closed.  It is humbling to receive a gift of someone’s genealogical research and expertise.

Today the Executives and I will deliver small gifts to the employees and will join them for a special holiday luncheon. It is always a fun time visiting with the employees who work so hard for our organization throughout the year! It is such a pleasure to be able to personally thank all of our employees for their professionalism and dedication to the DAR.

Despite the many special activities, the Executive Committee spent days in the conference room addressing the work of the Society.  Tomorrow we will hold the last National Board of Management meeting for 2014.  We are already looking forward to celebrating our Quasquicentennial in 2015!

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