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DAR works to promote patriotism

 

By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

      In 1955, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) petitioned Congress to set aside one week each year to be recognized as national Constitution Week. Fifty-eight years later, one local chapter of the DAR continues to reach out to commissioners, cities and schools about honoring this time of year.

A group of American citizens is sworn in at a naturalization ceremony. The Daughters of the American Revolution pass out flags and greet these new citizens at each event.                                                  Photo by Alex Welch

  The Andrew McBride chapter of the DAR, which is based out of McDonough, started three years ago, and it now has over 80 members. Pat Rosser, the chapter’s chair for Constitution Week, visits the mayors of Hampton, McDonough, Locust Grove and Stockbridge and the Henry County Board of Commissioners each year to sign a proclamation commemorating Constitution Week, which runs from Sept. 17-23.

  Rosser said that 226 years after the U.S. Constitution was originally signed, the DAR is still working to help people understand what the history of it means.

  “It’s to honor the men who gave their time and wisdom and who cared about America and what it would become,” said Rosser. “It honors their memory, and it’s to remind our families and people around here that this is why we’re free. Freedom is not free.”

  The chapter tries to help citizens become more aware of what the Constitution stands for and learn about the men who fought for rights in America. During Constitution Week, Rosser visits local schools to pass out posters and information. She even hands out Constitution books at her Sunday school classes.

(Left to right) Pat Rosser, Juli Gilbert, Helen Busbin, Amy Penn and Mary Cawthon represent the Andrew McBride chapter of the DAR at a McDonough City Council meeting. Gilber sang the national anthem and Rosser opened with a prayer at Monday night’s meeting.                                      Photo by Alex Welch

  “We’re just continuing to carry that torch saying we need to keep this before the school system, before the cities and before the people, to tell them they need to know more about the Constitution and to honor it,” said Rosser.

  For their last meeting, Rosser put together a PowerPoint to teach members about the Constitution and the 39 delegates who signed it back in 1787. She’s giving the same presentation to the Jackson chapter this week and the Henry County Genealogical Society next month.

  But Constitution Week isn’t the only event the DAR takes part in. Each month the chapter goes to the National Archives at Atlanta in Morrow for naturalization ceremonies. Last week, representatives from Henry County along with the Augustin Clayton, James Waldrop and William McIntosh chapters, greeted 81 new citizens.

  Anne Franklin, chair for the Henry County DAR Americanism Committee, said she and the other members go to the ceremonies to help greet new citizens and congratulate them on becoming Americans.

  “After each of the ceremonies, we have punch and cookies. It’s really exciting to see the smiles on their faces. It’s an emotional time, and it makes us feel very emotional too,” said Franklin. “We also give out Chick-fil-A coupons for apple pie slices. On the back it says, ‘You’re now as American as apple pie.’ The DAR has their feelings of patriotism renewed each time we come.”

  The ceremony encompassed 81 countries of origin, ranging from six of the seven continents. Thiago Cury, who was born in Brazil, was relieved to finally obtain his citizenship.

  “It was a long process to become a citizen, but it’s finally here. It feels awesome. God has been faithful,” said Cury.

  After watching a welcome video from President Barack Obama and taking a citizen’s oath, DAR members invited the new Americans to a reception afterward and presented them with American flag pins.

  Along with their help during Constitution Week and naturalization ceremonies, the Andrew McBride chapter encourages patriotism and promotes education through various community events. Rosser said they meet soldiers when they return home from war, participate in Wounded Warrior projects, work with schools around Henry County and sponsor veterans at Christmas.

  Becoming a member of the DAR isn’t as simple as filling out an application. Women who are interested must prove they are related to someone who played a role in the American Revolution. Rosser said it takes work tracking down lineage to Revolutionary patriots.

  Rosser first became interested in her lineage when she was doing research on pastors at Bethany Baptist Church. She started to discover more about the history of Henry County and her family. Eventually, she decided to become a member of the DAR to help promote history and her beliefs as an American.

  “To me it’s just perpetuating what I believe America stands for That’s just one way I can do it,” said Rosser. “I feel like I’m bringing honor to my country and to my forefathers by being a member of this.”

 

 

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