Remembering Our Roots with American Spirit

Written by: Jennifer Minus, National Chair, DAR Magazine
November 7, 2017

As I read the November/December 2017 American Spirit article chronicling wreath-laying ceremonies, I was struck by how often these ceremonies have figured in my own personal DAR story. The first DAR wreath-laying I attended occurred when I was a Cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and I represented the Margaret Corbin Forum (a Cadet Club) in the annual Memorial Service and Wreath-laying at the West Point Cemetery. At the time, I did not know I was eligible to become a Daughter. A few years later, after my grandmother had completed my papers and I was a member of her chapter, I was visiting family on my son’s first birthday in Bloomington, Ind. We had just visited the courthouse to see my ancestor’s name on a plaque inside, and since it was Veterans Day, the ladies in the local DAR Chapter were placing a wreath at the GAR Memorial. My heart swelled with pride to realize that I was now a part of an organization that visibly and reverently honored our nation’s veterans. Finally, after I had moved back to West Point to be a professor of American History a few years later, I was getting ready to escort Cadets to the annual wreath-laying in the West Point Cemetery and I realized I wanted to be more active in the DAR. 

Although wreath-laying ceremonies usually take a lot of coordination and preparation—and also fervent wishes for nice weather!—they are wonderful community outreach events that promote patriotism and preserve our national history. Even though these ceremonies are not reported on the Chapter Master Report, we can estimate the NSDAR probably participates in hundreds of them a year; from the annual wreath-layings by the President General at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and the graves of President George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon; to Wreaths Across America events across the country; and numerous historic marker dedications and Daughter and Patriot grave-markings by chapters. Additionally, later this week on Veterans Day many of you will participate in a wreath-laying in your local community. To better understand the significance and history of these events, the DAR Magazine team hopes that you will read the article “Wreaths of Remembrance” in this month’s issue of American Spirit. To order extra copies of this issue, or any past issues of American Spirit or Daughters Newsletter, please call 1 (866) 327–6242, Monday through Friday, during business hours.

I find that every issue of our publications has an article with which I can connect—it could be somewhere I want to travel; a book I want to read; great ideas I can use in my own chapter from “With the Chapters,” and, of course, updates from our National Chairs in the Committee Corner. I hope that you also have this experience, and will also consider ordering a gift subscription for a family member, friend, or organization. Please don’t delay! The subscription cut-off for our January/February issue is just a couple weeks away (November 19, 2017), and if you order after this date, it is very likely that your first gift subscription will not arrive until the March/April issue (about March 1, 2018). When ordering the magazine as a gift, be sure to include instructions that it is a gift so that we send you a note card you can mail to let the new subscriber know the magazine is on its way. You can also give a subscription to a Daughter—is there someone in your chapter who can no longer attend meetings, or has moved away? Keep them connected by donating a subscription to the magazine and newsletter! 

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