I often sit with my mom and flip through binders of family history. We read a letter sent from my great-aunt in the 1950s while she worked as a physician in Saudi Arabia. We read the letter my grandfather wrote to his wife when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and his work was no longer a secret. We saw an advertisement for a performance by my grandmother and her two sisters, all Julliard-trained pianists. We saw a lovely photograph of my grandmother, paired with a long write-up announcing her engagement. Along with all the details of her family and future husband, there was reference to her involvement in an organization: Daughters of The American Revolution.
As of today, I too am a member.
For a decade after my grandmother passed, my parents received hundreds of forwarded solicitations. She had donated to veterans, animals, starving children, the Catholic church, and more. Even on a limited income, they was always enough to provide for the less fortunate.
Fifty years before she would meet me, she was dedicating her time and resources to the community of Rochester, New York. She volunteered at local events, promoting American history, civics, and patriotism. I didn’t know that until recently. I’m excited to have the opportunity to follow in her footsteps.
At a time in history where the basic understanding of civics has fallen out of the sphere of common knowledge, I long for an opportunity to expose citizens to gift of our Constitution.
At a time in history where division is at an all-time high, I want to draw attention to our shared history and shared hopes for the future.
At a time in history where some citizens view the American flag as a symbol of hated, I want to help reignite patriotism.
I’m just a single individual. I’m not going to change the world and I know that. What do I hope for in joining DAR? I’m hoping to connect with others who love American history and are proud of where we have been and what we, as a country, have overcome. I am hoping the outreach programs will provide the opportunity to connect with just one person willing to listen and learn. I’m hoping I can help shape even just one more proud American.
In a 1787 letter to William Stephens Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” While I don’t expect the sentiment to be taken literally in this day and age, the line does give pause.
We are the descendants of rebel patriots. It’s our duty and our God-given right to engage in civil discourse, to prevent the bastardization of our history, and to uphold the Constitution. Our ancestors give up their lives, livelihoods, and creature comforts to reject and overthrow an unjust monarchical colonial rule. I think it’s fair to say our current American kleptocracy is no better than the far-reaching tentacles of the British crown.
This is not a call to arms, but rather an invitation to raise your voice. In a world lacking knowledge of basic history and devoid of a willingness to engage in critical conversation, we need to squash that ignorance before it escalates into a situation that would require violence. It is the least, and yet most important, thing we can do.
I was warned before joining that members of the organization–a group of primarily elderly women that sew quits for veterans and teach children about American history–are put on FBI watch lists. At this point, I am convinced that if I am not on some damn extremist watch list, I am not being a good enough citizen.
We are the descendants of rebel patriots, and I hope that future generations can say that say thing about us.