Thursday, July 11, 2013
This week, the nation’s capital welcomed more than 3,500 members of the DAR, one of its foremost service organizations. Members of the Rebecca Motte Chapter, based in Charleston, were in attendance at the 122nd Continental Congress, the annual convention. The DAR Continental Congress is a time-honored tradition that has been held in Washington, D.C. as the annual national meeting of the membership since the organization’s founding, 123 years ago. National, state and chapter leaders from around the world meet at the DAR National Headquarters to report on the year’s work, honor outstanding award recipients, plan future initiatives and reconnect with friends.
Highlights of the convention included opening night guest speakers Leigh Keno of “Antiques Roadshow,” who received the DAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award, and Rich Little, comedian and voiceover actor, who received the DAR Americanism Award, given to a distinguished naturalized citizen.
On National Defense Night, an evening honoring our nation’s military, the keynote address was delivered by Vice Admiral Robin R. Braun, U.S. Navy, and Lieutenant General Claude “Mick” Kicklighter, U.S. Army (Ret.), provided remarks as director of the DoD Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration. Additional awards that evening were presented to the Army Nurse of the Year and outstanding volunteers for veterans.
On Saturday evening, Ambassador John Limbert was honored with the Medal of Honor at the Gala Awards banquet. Actress Connie Stevens was presented with the Founders Medal for Patriotism, and the films “Honor Flight” and “Girl Rising” received DAR Media Awards. During the week, the DAR also honored the Outstanding Teacher of American History and the DAR American history essay contest winners.
“It’s inspiring to see more than 3,500 members travel to Washington to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year to preserve the past, enhance the present and invest in the future,” said Merry Ann T. Wright, president general. “Attendees show great enthusiasm to participate in seminars and workshops during the conference to enhance their work of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism back in their communities. The reports given at our Continental Congress make it clear that the DAR is playing an important role in cities and towns across America.”
Chapter delegates in attendance at the congress were State Organizing Secretary and Chapter Regent, Katie Hyman, of Mount Pleasant; South Carolina Outstanding Junior and State Women’s Issues Chairman, Elizabeth Harrelson Burns, of Greenville; Mickey Sieracki, of Mount Pleasant; MaeRe Skinner, of Wando; and Barbara Speer, of Mount Pleasant. While at congress, they attended a weeklong schedule of business sessions, committee meetings, and social functions, including the South Carolina Dessert Extravaganza, Units Overseas Luncheon and International Bazaar, DAR School Supper, DAR Service for Veterans Luncheon, as well as formal evening ceremonies at which national DAR award winners were honored. Burns was appointed as National Junior Membership Committee Vice Chairman, Tamassee DAR School Representative at the end of congress.