Reflecting on the Year That Was

Written by: Denise Doring VanBuren, President General
December 31, 2019

And just like that, another year of DAR accomplishment has come to a successful conclusion. Just imagine the hundreds of thousands of ways that DAR members around the world helped to fulfill our service organization’s relevant mission during 2019 – it’s inspiring to pause and reflect on the support that we collectively provided to students, veterans, armed forces personnel, new citizens, emergency responders, community volunteers and many others in meaningful ways. Thank you for being a part of Today’s DAR. We share a passion and a purpose – and we represent the very promise of America.

I was especially pleased to follow the social media posts that celebrated our fifth annual National DAR Day of Service. All across the nation, Daughters rolled up their sleeves and demonstrated what it means to be a part of our vibrant organization, as we accept a joyful obligation to support the independent nation forged by our ancestors. I thank you, ladies, for a job exceptionally well done!

On the National level, it was also a year of great forward progress, begun by President General Ann Turner Dillon as she executed the final year of her administration. From the unveiling of a refreshed DAR logo to updates of the Genealogy Guidelines; from online scholarship submittals to the inaugural Vivian’s Outreach to Women (VOW) grants; and many other significant accomplishments in between, the Dillon executives culminated a vibrant term in office moving our Society Forward in Service to America. We are all most grateful to Mrs. Dillon for her gracious leadership and steady stewardship. 

In June, voters to Continental Congress placed their confidence in the members of our VanBuren Administration, as well as voting to bring the production, marketing and sales of DAR Insignia in house. The latter approval set in motion the first priority of our new administration. I am delighted to share that, due in large part to the excellent efforts of the Insignia Task Force, capably led by Dr. Sherry Edwards, great progress has already been achieved, with an Insignia Director hired, space constructed, manufacturing contracts signed, a point-of-sale system operable, governance procedures adopted and many other milestones accomplished. We are well on our way toward selling in-house DAR Insignia by Continental Congress 2020.

In addition to updating several committees, our team is proud to have also launched the largest President General’s Project in the history of our National Society, with a $9 million effort underway to restore DAR Constitution   Hall. Every facet (from the seats to the ceilings) will be addressed as part of The Next Act, an undertaking to restore our National Historic Landmark. 

We were overjoyed to promote Constitution Week 2019 in communities across the nation, and what a special day it was in DAR Constitution Hall to welcome 1,001 new U.S. citizens during a Constitution Day naturalization ceremony. The DAR teamed up with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to host this special event, which featured the largest group of candidates ever welcomed into citizenship in a single ceremony in Washington, D.C.

What a thrill it was to accept our one millionth member at our October board meeting! Our celebration focused on all of the one million members who have joined our Society since its 1890 founding, and we were delighted to see so many chapters gain positive promotional coverage for their members as a result.  We welcomed advice columnist and best-selling author Amy Dickinson into membership as National Number 1000000 – and we’re grateful she was willing to allow us to tell her story and that of her Patriot ancestor, especially in this age of internet privacy concerns.

October brought our annual DAR School Tour, and it was a pleasure to lead nearly 100 representatives of our National Society on a week-long bus trip to visit four of our DAR-sponsored schools. Each campus is unique, and every student whom we met along the way reinforced our commitment to education.

Our administration has encouraged chapters to get involved with their local Honor Flights and Wreaths Across America observances, and the resulting participation has been heartwarming. DAR was pleased to be the official sponsor of the Wreaths Across America touring educational exhibit, and we continue to encourage our members to support all veterans, especially those who are female.

We have placed new emphasis on remembering on our first veterans, the men and women who achieved American independence, through the creation of the new “Our Patriots” subcommittee of the America 250 Committee. Designed to raise awareness of the contributions of our ancestors, this effort includes online promotions, Chapter Patriot Memorial Services, and other observances meant to perpetuate their memory. At a time when some might want to strike their sacrifices from our history books, we must be their voice. Join us in rededicating memorials to them, honoring their memory and saluting their service.

I am most grateful to all of the members, Society leaders and headquarters staff who helped to make possible these outstanding accomplishments. Clearly 2019 illustrated that there has never been a more exciting time to be a part of our Society, as our mission to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism has never been more important to America’s future. Join me in making 2020 our most productive year yet – can we do it? Of course we can!

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Historic Preservation,
Education, Patriotism

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