DAR Monument Chapter

Publicity

Sun Newspaper - June 30, 2005
Minneapolis Star Tribune – July 4, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

The DAR Insignia is the property of, and is copyrighted by, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

 

 

Local DAR chapter celebrating 105 years
By James Zwilling
Sun Newspapers
6/30/2005

When Edina resident Dianne Plunkett Latham thinks about the Fourth of July, she said she can’t help but reflect on the tremendous amount of courage U.S. patriots demonstrated during the American Revolution.

“It was such a significant risk these people took,” said Latham, regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Monument Chapter. “I’m in awe of them.”

An interest in genealogy and a copy of her great aunt’s application to a DAR chapter led Latham to the organization that dedicates itself to patriotism, historic preservation and education.

And, now she leads the DAR Monument Chapter through its 105th year.

The DAR Monument Chapter draws its approximately 70 members from Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins and south Minneapolis.

The group is one of the state’s oldest and is part of a worldwide organization that started in the late 1800s.

DAR has held fast to its guiding principals of patriotism, historic preservation and education for more than 100 years, but in the early part of the decade, membership was declining, said Diana Eckerberg, a member of the St. Anthony Falls DAR Chapter in St. Louis Park and regent of the Minnesota State DAR.

“Many of our members were getting up there in age and we weren’t seeing their children and grandchildren getting involved.”

Then 9/11 happened, Latham said.

“There was definitely a renewed interest after the tragedy,” Latham said. “I think 9/11 really made people start thinking more patriotically. They started thinking about the price of freedom and how that freedom is something we all need to be proud of and recognize.

Eckerberg said she, too, thinks the renewed patriotism that swept across the country post-9/11 helped increase the organization’s membership.

She also said the Internet and other technology play a role in the development of the organization today.

DAR members must be able to provide somewhat extensive documentation that a blood relative was a patriot.

“You used to have very limited resources,” Latham said. “Technology gives people the opportunity to do much more research more easily than ever before.”

The DAR Monument Chapter helps people get started, Latham said.

Many members come to DAR because a family member had an existing membership, but the organization does have many people who inquire because they know or believe a family member was involved in the American Revolution.

Members of the DAR can trace their lineage to one or more of the more than 123,000 proven patriots who have been verified by the National Society of the DAR (NSDAR).

Some members have found as many as 24 male or female patriots.

Latham said the organization is working to digitize as much of its research as possible.

But, the organization is about much more than researching family lines, Latham said.DAR Monument Chapter’s projects have included veteran support, literacy and support for schools.

The Monument Chapter’s current conservation project is that of woodland restoration at the Edina Art Center where native wildflowers and shrubs are being planted after the removal of the noxious weed, buckthorn.

And the chapter has erected seven monuments in recent years, including flagpoles.

Seven or more Monument Chapter luncheon meetings are scheduled annually with a wide range of meeting topics including genealogical research, conservation, arts and U.S. history. The next Monument Chapter meeting will be Sept. 15. DAR members and prospective members are welcome to attend and can obtain more information by contacting Latham at 952-941-3542.

Individuals with any fourth or fifth great-grandparents, who lived in the 13 colonies at the time of the American Revolution, can discover if they were a patriot by consulting the NSDAR multi-volume lineage books.

The reference books can be found at the Minnesota History Center library in St. Paul, 345 Kellog Blvd. W., or at the Minnesota Genealogical Society library in Golden Valley, 5768 Olsen Memorial Parkway.

More information about DAR and other Minnesota chapters can be found at www.dar.org. The state plans to add three new chapters in the coming year, including one in Minnetonka.

A look at contributions in Edina:

1973 – Southdale Library Flagpole dedicated.

1987 – A granite boulder in Tupa Park is donated to commemorate the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

2003 – Normandale French Immersion Elementary School Flagpole dedicated.

2004 – On Flag Day in June 2004, the Monument Chapter, with support from the Friends of the Edina Library and the city of Edina, dedicated a flagpole at the Edina Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Patriot group full of new faces and ways

Minneapolis Star Tribune – July 4, 2005
by Katherine Kersten
kkersten@startribune.com

If you're under 40, you may never have heard of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). If you're over 40, you probably have a vague idea that DAR is an organization of women whose ancestors lived here at the time of the American Revolution.

Most likely, DAR is also your idea of Dullsville: meetings of blue-haired widows who sip tea, play canasta and reminisce about their Puritan forebears who arrived on the Mayflower. Minnesota must have had 10 such ladies a decade ago, with the number down to seven today, right?

Well, think again. In 2005, DAR's mission is to promote patriotism and awareness of American history, as it was when the organization was founded in 1890. But today, the Minnesota DAR is not about grandmas with knitting needles. It's about women such as Andrea Lloyd Curry: national TV sports analyst, former captain of the Minnesota Lynx basketball team, four-time All-America and 1988 Olympic gold medalist.

Lloyd Curry, who has 13 Revolutionary-era ancestors (and counting), exemplifies the direction that DAR is headed in the 21st century. In February, after her first DAR meeting, she was hooked.

As a pending DAR member, Lloyd Curry joins more than 900 Minnesota women in 23 chapters, in places ranging from Duluth to Fergus Falls to tiny Tracy. Interest is growing so fast that DAR is launching new chapters in Stillwater, Wayzata and St. Cloud.

What accounts for this? I suspect that the Minnesota DAR's recent growth stems, in part, from the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Following that day, many Americans began to sense that we had taken our freedom for granted for too long. They developed a new pride in American ideals and a new curiosity about American history. Some felt a growing urgency to connect with these things in a personal way.

 

Lloyd Curry puts it like this: "We need to know where we came from and what people did to make our nation the one we enjoy today, so we can appreciate it even more."

Dianne Plunkett Latham -- regent of DAR's Monument Chapter, which Lloyd Curry joined -- heartily agrees. A former patent attorney and history teacher, she presides over DAR activities in south Minneapolis and nearby suburbs. The Monument Chapter's members range from 94-year-old Helen Salzman to 18-year-old Sarah Schwartz, who will attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in the fall.

Latham joined the organization in 2002. She is descended from John Alden, a passenger on the Mayflower. So is her husband, Daniel. (Shortly before their marriage, they discovered to their surprise that they're 10th cousins.)

Latham acknowledges that DAR's stuffy reputation used to be well-deserved. "When I joined, this chapter was a pretty sleepy group," she says. "The joke was that it was easier to identify CIA operatives than to find your local DAR chapter."

But Latham, like other new DAR members across the country, was determined to change this. Her enthusiasm for American history and community service is infectious. In 2003, she launched an ad campaign to get out the word about DAR in the south metro. That's what first caught Lloyd Curry's attention.

The Monument Chapter's meetings generally combine a history-related activity -- such as study of the Declaration of Independence -- with service of some kind. The chapter has erected a number of patriotic monuments. (The latest is the flagpole at the new Edina Library.) Members also raise money for special projects, such as North Carolina's Crossnore School, which serves children from families in crisis.

 

Nationally, DAR is at the forefront of historical preservation efforts. "We've done everything from helping to restore Ellis Island," Latham says, "to putting up monuments to honor pioneer women."

DAR also sponsors an American history essay contest and scholarships for young people. Its members welcome newly naturalized citizens, support conservation projects, identify and refurbish patriot graves, and log thousands of volunteer hours with veterans and literacy projects.

So who can join DAR? Any woman age 18 and older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. "Your ancestor doesn't have to be a soldier," Latham points out. "Any person who contributed to the cause of freedom between 1775 and 1783 is sufficient." Qualifying ancestors include doctors and nurses who aided the wounded, ministers who preached patriotic sermons, gunsmiths who repaired weapons, and judges or constables.

Don't know if your ancestors fall into these categories? DAR will help you. "We've got an extraordinary online database," Latham says. "We'll help you search it to authenticate your ancestors' status."

The days when every DAR member was a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant are long gone. The organization has collected the names of several thousand black and Indian patriots and is eager to help their descendants trace their lineage.

This July 4th, we celebrate the legacy of freedom that America's founding generation won for us. All of us should take this opportunity to honor these great men and women with gratitude and respect.

At the same time, we should be thankful that some Americans -- the members of Minnesota's DAR -- have decided to devote more than one day a year to honoring those who made our freedom possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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