Saturday, April 30, 2016

Society Saturday- President Madison and our first global conflict

Two speakers at the USD1812 Associate Council gave interesting historic perspectives on the War of 1812.

First was David O. Stewart, author of "Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships that built America".  He claims that James Madison is the second most important founding father after Washington.  He was the first wartime President. He inherited a smoldering conflict, and despite his short stature and quiet demeanor, managed to weather all criticisms.  He was very tolerant of his opposition.    He was the last President to personally appear on the battlefield when he rallied the troops at the Battle of Bladensburg.

The next evening, we heard from Dr. John Voll, a Professor at Georgetown.  He spoke about the first global conflict.  What we know as our Second War for Independence was only a small portion of the worldwide conflict.  Of course there were the Napoleonic Wars in Europe; in fact, Napoleon's army was twice the population of our state of Maryland.  There were several other struggles for independence at the same time.  Beginning in the 1790's, revolts were occurring as far away as China and Senegal.  Closer to home, as a result of Napoleon overthrowing the Spanish monarchy in 1810, Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, and Argentina were all fighting for their independence.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Society Saturday - Fulfilling our nation's promise

The speaker for the US Daughter of 1812 was Rear Admiral Donna Crisp.  She is retired from the US Navy and now works on recovering remains of servicemen lost overseas.

There are 83000 servicemen whose remains are still overseas and unidentified since world war 1.  Admiral Crisp told us about several stages of recovery, removal and repatriation.

First, teams work with local residents and archeologists to find unidentified grave sites.  Often this location is based on local legend of hidden mass graves.  It can be dangerous work since there may be unexplored ordinates in the area.  Only a small portion of remains may be in existence.

Once remains are recovered, they are examined at laboratories in Hawaii and Maryland.  Identification is done by dental records,skeletal records, information on height, gender, previous injuries and DNA.
There are some additional means of identification which include recreating 3D models of skulls, and matching eyeglass prescriptions.

It is tedious but important work, to fulfill our Nation's promise to bring all servicemen and women back home.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Society Saturday - Boundary Stones of DC

Our speaker at the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America banquet was Shari Thorne-Sulima. She is a former DAR State Regent of DC and told us about the boundary stones in the district.  

When the area of the District of Columbia was surveyed, it formed a square.  There was a lot of Masonic symbolism involved n the layout of the district and the design of the stones themselves since George Washington was a prominent mason.

There were a total of 40 stones placed around the perimeter of the district.  The first stone was placed in 1791 by Washington in Alexandria, VA.  

The engraving on each of the four sides was as follows:  
The side facing DC - "Jurisdiction of the United Ststes"
The opposite side - either "Virginia" or "Maryland" as appropriate.
The other two sides gave the year placed (1791 or 1792) and the magnetic compass coordinates.

Photo from

The stones are on federal soil and are in the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  The DCDAR has been active in raising money to preserve both the stones and the iron fences around them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Society Saturday- Lineage Week Begins

It's that time of year, and members of national lineage groups travel to our nation's capital for Lineage Week.  This year, due to scheduling, it's actually more like Lineage Fortnight.   In any case, it's a great opportunity to see old friends and make new ones, all while we are carrying out the historic, patriotic, or educational missions of the various Societies.

My week began with the Daughters of the American Colonists meeting.  At the Fellowship Dinner, we met  "Women Who Wait".  Deborah Franklin told us of her relationship with Ben Franklin.

Next, Rebecca's Boone told us about her life with Daniel Boone.

Both ladies took care ofc hearth and home while their husbands were out. Ben Franklin was gone for 16 years in England and France as a diplomat.  Daniel Boone was gone for months at a time hunting and exploring the frontier.
We learned that these Founding Fathers could not have done what they did without their wives managing the household and raising the children back at home.

National President Phyllis Jones conducted the business meeting where we accomplished a lot.

The DAC Candlelight Supper is always a lovely evening.  This year we were entertained by Matt Briney, director of new media at Mount Vernon.  

He told us about the Agent 711 interactive smartphone app that his team developed for visitors to Mount Vernon.  It provides an interactive method for young and old to learn about George Washington and his spy ring.

I am looking forward to my next visit to Mount Vernon so that I can try out this app.