Participating in the Valor Run to Honor 160 Servicewomen

Written by: Jennifer Minus, National Chair, DAR Project Patriot
October 22, 2014

The DAR Project Patriot Committee supports our active-duty and active Reserve/National Guard military servicemembers.  At the National level, the Committee assists wounded military members and their families at military medical centers in Landstuhl, Germany; San Antonio, Texas; and Washington, D.C., through donations to the DAR Project Patriot Fund.  Since 2010, the Committee has also focused efforts on supporting military women by sending tailored care packages to those deployed or overseas. 

On October 18, 2014, I was privileged to be able to participate in “Valor Run,” an effort by Captain Nancy Lacore, USNR, to honor the 160 servicewomen who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.  Starting in Chesapeake, Virginia Captain Lacore ran 160 miles over seven days (one mile for each woman).  She ended her run on a beautiful Saturday morning at the Women’s Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, with the 160 of us who joined her at Memorial Bridge wearing a Tribute Ribbon holding the photo and name of each one of the women honored.  This was very special because many of us had connections to our Tribute Ribbon.  I was grateful to have Captain Sara Knutson Cullen’s photo since I knew her while she was a cadet at West Point. Sara was a helicopter pilot killed in Afghanistan in March 2013.

After remarks by Brig Gen (Ret) Wilma Vaught, the President of the Women’s Memorial Foundation, and Vice Admiral Robin Braun, the Chief of the Naval Reserve (and our 2013 National Defense Night speaker), I had the opportunity to present a $5,000 grant from the NSDAR to the Women’s Memorial to replace their oral history program hardware and upgrade any needed software.  The Memorial is about to launch a new DAR Oral History Partnership project, inviting chapters around the nation to “partner” with the Foundation to collect and submit oral history interviews with military women who are chapter members.  There are currently over 1,700 veteran Daughters, over 100 of whom are still on active/active reserve status.  With the approach of Veterans Day, your next Chapter meeting is a great time to identify, register their service at the Memorial, and thank all our veteran Daughters, especially those who might not be able to make meetings regularly.   

After a ceremonial cake-cutting recognizing the 17th Anniversary of the Memorial’s Dedication, those of us wearing Tribute Ribbons went inside the Memorial to the Hall of Honor and placed the ribbons on the “Sister Blocks” of marble, called thus because they came from the same quarry used for the marble in the Tomb of the Unknowns up the hill from the Memorial.  These 160 women voluntarily answered the call to defend their nation.  Their lives ended much too soon, but by supporting events like the Valor Run in your own local communities we can ensure that their sacrifices were not in vain and their memories live on.    

Below are my remarks from the ceremony:

General Vaught, seventeen years ago the Daughters of the American Revolution were so proud to present the state flags at the Women’s Memorial Dedication Ceremony.  Throughout the years, we have been staunch supporters of the Memorial at the individual, chapter, and national levels and strongly support your endeavors to register and remember all of our nation’s women servicemembers, just as we in the DAR strive to preserve history and promote patriotism and education. 

On behalf of the DAR’s President General, who is visiting our overseas members right now, I would like to present you with this $5,000 grant to replace the hardware and upgrade any needed software used for your oral history program.  We hope this program is able to record the stories of women like our recent Margaret Cochran Corbin Award winners, Staff Sergeant Julia Bringloe Stalker, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross in Afghanistan, and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeanne Pace, the last Women’s Army Corps soldier still on active duty after 42 consecutive years. 

Again, ma’am, on behalf of the President General, thank you for sharing the Women’s Memorial with our members and we encourage everyone here to do what they can in giving their time, treasure, or talent to keeping the lights on here at the Memorial.

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Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.