Regent Rose Edwards'
May 7th 2005
We gather here to honor the great
sacrifices made by our ancestors in promoting the goals of the National Society
of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Historic Preservation, Patriotism,
Congressman Paul Ryan wrote:
That we can never forget those who have allowed us to enjoy that which
we have today. More than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to honor the
lives and memories of those who served, fought, and died. To honor great
sacrifices, celebrate heroic victories, and remember the daily freedoms many
of us too often take for granted came at a painful price.
Our chapter, Onagomingkway, is
a resolution to those sacrifices made. It is also appropriate that our chapter
is organized on the anniversary of VE Day honoring the heroic victories in
In looking back over the past couple
of years to when I first decided to help establish a chapter here in the
UP, I think about the wonderful support I received, the new friends I have
made, the opportunity to grown and learn as a daughter. It has been a fantastic
experience and I want to thank you all for this opportunity. I have been
honored to know you, my fellow daughters.
I ran across this story a few years
back and I would like to share it with you tonight as it really brings home
the sacrifices made by our ancestors to win the freedoms we now
Have you ever wondered what happened
to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before
they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons
who served in the Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought
and died from wounds or hardships of the War. They had pledged their lives,
their fortunes and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers. All were men of means and
well-educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing that
the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a
wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships go under the seas by the British
Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by
the British that he had to move his family constantly. He served in Congress
without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken,
and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the
properties of seven others.
At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas
Nelson Jr. noted that the British Gen. Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged Gen. Washington to open fire.
The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
The home of Francis Lewis was
destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died a few months later.
John Hart was driven from the
bedside of his wife. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and
gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived outdoors, returning
home to find his wife dead and his children gone. He died shortly
Morris and Livingston also suffered
Such were the stories and sacrifices
of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians.
They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but
they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged
"for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection
of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our
Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
They gave us a free and independent
America. Too often we now take these liberties for granted.
So tonight I want all of us to
thank these patriots and our own patriot ancestor for their heroic contributions.
It is not too much to ask for the price they paid.
In the speech written by Chapter Regent, Mrs. Louise Barnum Robbins, at the
organizational meeting of the Adrian, Michigan Chapter of the Daughters of
the American Revolution in 1909, She could not have said it any better than
In the performance of our patriotic
work today, we pay reverent homage to the men and women who loved freedom
better than riches and ease and power, and who bequeathed to us the priceless
heritage of a free and munificent government. In this work we are about to
assume, may we gain renewed inspiration in love of Country, and may we rejoice
to go forward in a line of work that shall be a tribute to the patriots who
achieved American independence.
O Real Daughter!
A hero's blood in your veins doth run,
Daughter of one in Libertys strife,
This is the gift he gave to you,
A patriots heart and a patriots will,
A soul to struggle your whole life through
And to be the conqueror still.