I grew up in the South, and I know all about patriotism.
There’s a special fervor that sweeps across the South, as if respect for the U.S. both past and present is slipped into the corn meal. And I believe that respect, in every form, is something the world could use more of.
For that reason, along with many more, I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution organization. To me, the DAR is the sweetest blend of positive qualities:
Honor for the historical figures who shaped the country we love, and
Action for a better nation today.
They’re committed to four ideals, listed on their website, that are making the world---not just the United States--- a better place.
1) Historic preservation
Since the DAR was formed around history, preservation is naturally one of its goals.
That preservation includes genealogical records, artifacts, historical documents,
buildings, and grave sites. The DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C. has massive
archives on the premises. Their records cover five centuries.
How does historic preservation make a better world today?
Well, if nothing more, preserving things like colonial buildings makes the area more beautiful. History inspires; inspiration produces art; and art gets inside the cracks of our lives, moving us around in ways that nothing else can.
But there is more. Genealogy, for example, needs to be preserved. Knowing the stories of your ancestors isn’t just interesting: it can sometimes be the clue you need to understand your own life. The victories and curses on your family tree inevitably affect you today.
Also, historic preservation is an act of societal humility. We don’t have all the answers today---but we do have centuries of hard lessons learned.
It would be arrogant not to use them.
The DAR is far more than a historical organization. Through education, it’s changing things right now.
From its website, the DAR is
“...awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and supporting schools for underserved children...”
My fellow volunteers contribute money and time to handfuls of schools. The DAR also puts on essay contests for children each year.
The value of educational efforts seems obvious. Educated children are better prepared for just about everything. And every benefit of preserving history applies here as well, with the preservation of knowledge.
However, the volunteers are also teaching citizenship---what it means to live in a society, how we’re able to help each other, and what responsibility each of us has to make a rich culture run.
Patriotism- love for or devotion to one's country. (Merriam-Webster)
All Daughters of the American Revolution have to prove they are descended from a Revolutionary patriot. (Makes sense, right?) In a sense, we continue the same love of country exhibited by our ancestors.
What that looks like today is volunteering to help veteran patients, in hospitals and elsewhere. It’s supporting active-duty military with care packages.
It’s upholding honor: those who put the needs of country above their own are to be honored accordingly.
This is a concept that doesn’t just apply to the United States. We are all humans on the Earth, united in that way. But every country has its own history and cultural achievements. Patriotism is the recognition of that idea.
One other thing I love about the DAR is that its patriotism isn’t culturally blind. Volunteers give scholarships to American Indian schools along with the rest of their work.
They recognize that our rich American history goes back much further than 1776.
4) Honoring the Patriots of the Revolutionary War
If you look in the right places, you can find monuments set up by the DAR, all over the world.
These monuments have been set up to remember people and events throughout American history, especially the patriots of the Revolutionary War.
Yes, our patriots are relevant to the world at large. The American Revolution inspires in ways that are universal. Freedom, and courage, are desirable for every people.
As proof, the DAR has international chapters in places as diverse as Australia, Bermuda, Guam, and Spain. American bloodlines have spread across the world, and the memory of the Revolution with them.
Past and Present
The Daughters are admirable; I’m honored to bear their name.
I love their commitment to combine the best of the past with the needs of the present. They prove to me that history has a place in the world today.
In honor of what the DAR has done for me, I’m choosing to give back in the best way I know how: the arts.
The Unanimous Declaration of Independence is a hand-engraved facsimile. This work of art reproduces the character and calligraphy of a document that shook the world in 1776 and continues, even today, to offer inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.
Click here to learn how you can display a monumental moment in history in your very own home.
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