Saturday, June 22, 2019

Society Saturday - Honoring our Military

The National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots is pleased to be able to present awards to our military trainees.

We offer medals to local JROTC and ROTC programs which are presented around the country by individual chapters.

In addition, we present awards to the military academies.  I had the opportunity to present two of these in person this year.

First, was the award at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  I was the invited guest at the Color Parade.  It was wonderful to see all the Midshipmen march by.  This was followed by lunch and the actual award ceremony.  DFPA awards a sword to the Midshipman that Excels in Knowledge of Naval Tactics.  This year's awardee was Midshipman Yash Khatavkar.  He plans to attend Stanford for graduate studies and go on to become a navy pilot.  He also received an award from the USAA for Community Service.

Midshipman Yash Khatavkar, NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy, Presenter from USAA

The following week, I traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to present an award to the Air Force Academy.  First, we toured the academy grounds where I saw the beautiful chapel and the visitors center.  We also watched the Thunderbirds practice their flyover for the actual commencement ceremony later that week.  We award an eagle and eaglet statue to the Cadet who Excels in all aspects of Political Science.  Our awardee was Cadet Lucas Beissner who also plans to attend Stanford.

NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy, Cadet Lucas Beissner, Colonel Cheryl Kearney

DFPA also presents awards at the Coast Guard Academy, West Point, and the Merchant Marine Academy, but I was unable to attend those this year.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Society Saturday - Wreath Laying for Jennie Hodgers/Albert Cashier

The Jennie Hodgers Tent (chapter) of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War conducted a wreath laying ceremony to honor our namesake - a unique individual who served her country.

Albert D.J. Cashier in November 1864 - from

Jennie Irene Hodgers was born in December 1843 in Clogherhead, Ireland.  She emigrated to the United States when she was young but very little is known about her early life.  When the Civil War broke out, she took on the identity of Albert D. J. Cashier and mustered into Company G of the 95th Illinois Infantry on September 7, 1862.  Albert and his unit fought in approximately 40 battles.  He was captured at Vicksburg but managed to escape.  He mustered out on August 17, 1865.

There were over 400 documented cases of women who disguised themselves as men in order to help the Union cause.  The reasons are varied - some felt a patriotic duty, some wanted the adventure, some wanted the $13/month pay (twice what a woman could make).  Because the enlistment physical examination was often cursory or even non-existent, it was fairly easy for the recruit to simply cut her hair, put on a pair of slacks, and talk with a deeper voice.  These women fought bravely alongside their male counterparts, then returned to their former lives as women after the war.

Jennie/Albert was different, though.  He continued to live as a man for the rest of his life.  Albert moved to Belvidere, IL, then to Saunemin, IL where he did odd jobs such as a farmhand, janitor, and lamplighter.  He retired to the Soldier and Sailor home in 1911 but was moved to the Watertown State Hospital when his mind deteriorated in 1913.  There, an attendant discovered his biologic gender while giving him a bath.

When word leaked out that a veteran was actually a woman, the US Government charged him with fraud in order to collect a pension.  Fellow soldiers from the 95th rallied to his defense and testified that Albert was indeed their former comrade and he was allowed to continue receiving his pension.

Albert Cashier died on 11 October 1915.  He was buried in his uniform with full military honors.

The wreath laying ceremony was held in the Sunny Slope Cemetery in Saunemin, IL. 

Taps are played by Master Chief Mary Arvidson USN(Ret)
It concluded with the playing of taps.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Society Saturday - Visiting the Order

As National President of the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, I was invited to attend the banquet of our male counterpart, the Order of Founders and Patriots of America.

Virgina DFPA President Wanda Russo, OFPA Governor General Richard Wright, DFPA National President Kimberly Nagy
Both groups have similar membership requirements requiring an unbroken male line to a colonial founder of our country with a Revolutionary War patriot along the line.

Their annual meeting was in Richmond, Virginia.  I took advantage of the location and arrived early to spend a few days at the Library of Virginia to work on a couple of brick walls.

The banquet was at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond.  The evening started with a parade of flags representing all the state chapters of OFPA.

Color Guard in Uniform

Following dinner, there was an awards presentation, and of course, opportunities for photos.

The ladies at the dinner - mostly wives plus 2 DFPA members

Representatives of Virginia and National OFPA and DFPA

The Governor General of the Order and I are attempting to increase collaboration between our organizations and we are looking forward to future opportunites for joint ventures.