Local DAR members learn about flag, celebrate Constitution Week

Local DAR members learn about flag, celebrate Constitution Week

Posted: Saturday, October 2, 2010 8:01 pm

Local DAR members learn about flag, celebrate Constitution Week | Reelfoot Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution

The Reelfoot Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution met recently at the Obion County Museum in Union City.
The meeting was called to order by regent Mary Coleman. Margaret Vaughan and Ms. Coleman led members present in the DAR Ritual. Hazel Williams led the Pledge of Allegiance. Josephine Keightley led in the recitation of the American’s Creed, followed by the singing of “America,” which was led by Penny Hepler. Mary Dunavant led the salute to the Tennessee flag and Ann Culp led the members in reading the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Linda Lofton read from “Guidelines for Display of the Flag.” This article reminded all who wish to fly the flag that the language of the national flag code makes it clear that the American flag is a living symbol and should be treated with utmost respect and dignity at all times, a spokesman said. Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it’s illuminated during darkness. The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms unless it is an all-weather flag. It should be displayed often, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions. Out of respect for the flag, never: dip it for any person or thing; display it with the union down, except as a signal of distress; let the flag touch anything beneath it as the ground, floor, water or merchandise; carry it horizontally, but always aloft; fasten or display it in a way that will permit it to be damaged or soiled; place anything on the flag, including letters, insignia or designs of any kind; use it for holding anything; use it as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery; use the flag for advertising or promotion purposes or print it on paper napkins, boxes or anything else intended for temporary use and discard. A flag patch may be attached to the uniform of patriotic organizations, military personnel, police officers and firefighters. When the flag is worn out or otherwise no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. In this area, the Veterans of the Foreign Wars Post 4862 and Boy Scout troops offer to destroy worn American flags with dignity by burning.
Gloria Howell presented Indian Minutes and began the group’s study about the Cherokee’s history. The original Cherokee tribes were first located in North Carolina, South Carolina, northern Alabama, southwest Virginia and the Cumberland Basin of Tennessee, Kentucky and northern Alabama. Today, the Cherokee are distributed across the United States with a concentration in eastern Oklahoma. European epidemics introduced into the southeastern U.S. in 1540 by the Desoto expedition are estimated to have killed at least 75 percent of the original native population. Their population in 1674 was about 50,000. Smallpox in the mid-1700s killed 50 percent of their population. Their removal to Oklahoma during the 1830s and the American Civil War were disastrous to the population also. Today their population is estimated to exceed 370,000, which would make the Cherokee the largest Native American group in the U.S. The name, Cherokee, comes from a Creek word meaning “people of a different speech.” The language of the Cherokee is Iroquian, although it differs significantly from other Iroquian languages. The sub-tribes of the Cherokee tribe can be divided into three divisions depending on the location and dialect: Lower, Middle and Over-the-Hill.
The president general’s report was read by Penny Hepler. She read a message from new NSDAR president general Merry Ann T. Wright, “A Time for Commemoration and Education.” She reminded members as their children and grandchildren return to school that the Founders sought to keep alive the truths held in the founding documents. The Founders believed that no government can create freedom, but that government must guard freedom rather than encroaching upon the freedoms of its people. A nation’s people can remain free only by being responsible citizens who are willing to learn about the rights of each arm of government and require that each is accountable for its own function. As chapters across the nation celebrate Constitution Week, members are provided many opportunities to publicize the DAR mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism.
Ann Thompson gave a National Defense report from The National Defender, a quarterly publication by the NSDAR. The report focused on a clarification of National Defense Committee components formed in 1926. The committee was formed to assist members in carrying out the organization’s purposes and, thereby, to promote an enlightened public opinion. Some of the ways a chapter can help enlighten the public regarding the purpose are to give the three-minute National Defense report in each regular chapter meeting; present ROTC medals to outstanding cadets and midshipmen; reward leadership characteristics in young people by rewarding them with Good Citizenship medals; and writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper to help educate the public about topics of importance.
The treasurer’s report was given by Mrs. Williams, and the minutes of the August meeting were read by Mrs. Vaughan.
Old business and new business topics were discussed.
New DAR member Sharon Stone was inducted into the chapter by Ms. Coleman, with assistance in the ceremony by Ms. Hepler.
The program about Constitution Week was given by Ms. Coleman. She presented many interesting and little known facts about the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.  It was penned by Jacob Shallus, a General Assembly clerk, for $30. Constitution Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 17, the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document. Because of poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did, tears streamed down his face. The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Franklin, age 81. The youngest to sign was Jonathan Dayton, age 26. It took 100 days to actually “frame” or write the Constitution. The word “democracy” does not appear once in the Constitution. The Constitution has only been changed 17 times since 1791.
The meeting was adjourned and members enjoyed bountiful refreshments. The meeting hostesses were Ms. Hepler and Ms. Culp.
The next meeting will be held Oct. 12. The program will be “Women’s Issues/Education.”

Published in The Messenger 10.01.10

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