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The Maj. George Gibson chapter NSDAR met March 15 at the Flatwoods United Methodist Church in Jonesville, Va. Treasurer and Past Regent Charlotte Brooks called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone.

She began the DAR Ritual followed by customary responses from Chaplain Manerva Watson and members. Linda Lawson led the Pledge of Allegiance, Dolores Ham began The American’s Creed, Becky Jones started the Preamble to the Constitution and Brooks led singing of the National Anthem. The group also read the Flag Statement.

Chaplain Watson gave the devotion, entitled “Have You Checked Your Spring Wardrobe Lately?” The scripture was Colossians 3:12-14. Our spiritual wardrobe should include mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and long-suffering. Above all else, put on love. Love is the one essential accessory we should never leave behind.

Agnes Marcum read the president general’s message from the March/April 2014 issue of American Spirit magazine. This issue is DAR’s fourth annual tribute to Women’s History Month. Some of the women featured are Elizabeth Freeman, a former slave; Elizabeth Ann Seton, a pioneer in Catholic education; Nan-ye-hi, an influential leader in the Cherokee Nation; Nancy Rubin Stuart, author of the book, Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married; and Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn an M.D. from an American medical school.

Charlotte Brooks presented the National Defense Minute by reading, “A New Beginning for Veterans,” also taken from the American Spirit. DAR members from the Chattanooga, Tenn. area assisted the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program in a week-long program aimed to equip veterans with information, skills and strategies needed not only to start new businesses, but also to keep them running successfully. The author said it might not always be obvious when a veteran needs help transitioning from military to civilian life. Brooks also commented on recent reports of defense budget cuts.

For the Flag Minute, Agnes Marcum noted that, while Americans recognize and celebrate collective achievements, individual achievements are cherished the most. One person’s contribution can define a course in human history. When we view the flag, we think of liberty, freedom, pride and Betsy Ross. The American flag is on the moon, it sits atop Mount Everest and it is hurtling out in space. It is how America signs her name. It is no surprise that Betsy Ross has become one of the most cherished figures in American History.

Marcum also presented the Indian Minute, reading from the American Spirit that Nan-ye-hi, also known as Nancy Ward, was born around 1738 in the Cherokee capital of Chota. She was a “Beloved Woman” of the Cherokee Nation. Though most of what we know about her is based on Cherokee tradition, romanticized histories, or accounts written generations after her death, what we do know paints a picture of an influential leader and peacekeeper who was highly respected by settlers and Cherokee alike.

As part of the DAR School Minute, Marcum asked members to begin saving silica packages (desiccants), such as those found in medicine bottles and new shoes, in addition to soup labels, box tops, ink cartridges, cell phones and phone accessories.

For the American Heritage Minute, Hostess Augusta Sinon showed a Victorian silver tatting bobbin or shuttle. Several members were familiar with tatted lace. Charlotte Brooks gave the Conservation Minute, stating it is time to put out bird nest materials, such as dryer lint and string, and to clean out bluebird houses.

Brooks also reported on the Celebrate America Volunteer Minute, especially recognizing Becky Jones and Agnes Marcum. Jones spends many volunteer hours with the Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society. Marcum’s name was submitted to the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association for the state volunteer award after she won both the local and district awards. She recently finished her 50th chemo cap, 25 of which have been taken to the cancer treatment center in Alcoa, Tenn. and the other 25 are to be given to the center in Harrogate, Tenn. She has also made many items for veterans.

This month’s program, “Celebrating American Women,” was presented by Charlotte Brooks based on information from the National First Ladies Library. [1] First Lady Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, wife of President Benjamin Harrison, was born in Oxford, Ohio in 1832 and died in the White House in 1892 at the age of 60. In 1890, she was elected the first President General of the newly formed Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Instead of being the honorary position she anticipated, however, it became a full-time job.

First Lady Harrison believed in being involved in the society around her including her church, her women’s clubs, her community and in the nation. She proved to be ahead of her time in many areas, including her pursuit of causes, the use of American goods, the President Generalship of the fledgling DAR, and the demand for admittance of women as students to Johns Hopkins Medical School. She also had a life-long love of drama, music, art and painting; she designed her White House china and made china painting popular. Caroline Harrison may well have been our most underrated First Lady.

Members were reminded of the upcoming Virginia State Conference to be held March 27-30 in Roanoke, Va. Nancy Britton, Charlotte Brooks, Linda Lawson and Judy Hounshell plan to attend. Agnes Marcum noted that Fay Ramsey attended the recent Tennessee State Conference and that the guest speaker was from the veterans center in Mountain Home, TN.

The next meeting of the Maj. George Gibson chapter will be April 2 focusing on conservation and American history. Carol Rowlett will be the hostess and Judy Hounshell will present the program.

[1] First Lady Biography: Caroline Harrison, National First Ladies Library (www.firstladies.org/biographies).

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