Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution from around the world gathered for their 130thDAR Continental Congress.
For the second time, they did so entirely online, again conducting all regular business and honoring the extensive work of DAR members throughout the year via a virtual experience.
Participating were Martha Beeching Jones, past vice president general; Kathryn Christmann, chapter regent; Patti McGuigan, chapter treasurer; Eden Tanzosh, chapter corresponding secretary; and Barbara Cook, all of the Glendale-based Anasazi Chapter.
Cook was recognized for her 50 years of membership in the DAR. The chapter contributed to the president general’s project and individual members also contributed personally. The chapter also hosted two watch parties, for education and national defense nights. Chapter members also enjoyed the Units Overseas Luncheon.
“I am honored to be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and participating in Continental Congress allows me to share my passion and enthusiasm with other Daughters across this great nation and across the world,” Christmann said.
Prerecorded video programming for the Opening Night Ceremony on June 30 featured singer and songwriter Lee Greenwood, who accepted the Founders Medal for Patriotism in recognition of his work on behalf of active-duty military and his patriotic standard, “God Bless the USA.”
Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky, author of this year’s NSDAR Excellence in American History Book Award, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, was recognized.
The DAR Americanism Medal was presented to naturalized citizen Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND snacks.
Marking the DAR’s long-standing commitment to historic preservation, the nearly complete restoration of DAR Constitution Hall was unveiled July 2.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation was presented with the President General’s Medallion. The White House Historical Association received the DAR Historic Preservation Medal and the PBS series “American Experience”was recognized with the DAR Media and Entertainment Award.
During the National Defense Night ceremony on July 3, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin received the DAR Patriot Award. The DAR Medal of Honor was presented to Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia, who was the first — and only living — recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for service during the Iraq War.
After 15 months of pandemic-related restrictions, it was a time to celebrate all that the organization had accomplished during the last year.
“Daughters demonstrated outstanding resiliency through support of our relevant mission during the last year, serving in their communities by recognizing essential workers, sewing more than 1 million pieces of personal protective equipment for their neighbors and fulfilling many other important volunteer opportunities through approximately 5 million hours of community service — in the middle of the global shutdown,” said President General Denise Doring VanBuren.
“I am especially proud that 2020 was the sixth-highest year for new members since our founding in 1890,” said VanBuren, who noted this was a remarkable achievement at a time when many organizations saw steep declines during the pandemic.
She also reported that the National Society remained financially stable, operated all business functions despite pandemic-related restrictions and completed a massive restoration of DAR Constitution Hall during the last year.
The DAR Continental Congress is an annual gathering of approximately 3,000 members that has traditionally been held in Washington, D.C., since the organization’s founding in 1890. National, state and chapter leaders, as well as members from across the country and around the world, gather to report on the year’s work, honor outstanding award recipients, plan future initiatives and reconnect with friends.
In April, with the District of Columbia still at phase two of its reopening plan and gatherings limited to 10 people and staff capacity at DAR headquarters to 25%, the DAR’s National Board of Management voted to move the annual event to an entirely virtual format for the second straight year. Given that last year’s week-long virtual event garnered more than 75,000 views online, making it the most watched in DAR’s 130-year history, expectations are that this year’s edition will attract the largest audience ever recorded.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the more than $14 million restoration of DAR Constitution Hall is nearing completion, and VanBuren’s The Next Act campaign to complete it is the largest single President General’s Project in the society’s history. Virtual attendees saw a behind-the-scenes look at how one of D.C.’s most popular and historic performance venues was transformed into a state-of-the-art facility during a full year of construction.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War.
With more than 190,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. To learn more about the work of DAR, visit DAR.org.