More than 3,500 members of the Daughters of the American Revolution convened in the nation’s capital in late June for the 126th Continental Congress, the latest gathering of the longstanding service organization’s annual meeting. Three members of the Independence Pioneers Chapter served as delegates to the convention: Bev Agut, Chapter Regent; Susan Bowman, Missouri State Society Regent; and Linda Sehrt, Missouri State Society Parliamentarian.

Opening night featured keynote speaker Eugene Kranz, retired Flight Director of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration, famous for the safe return of the manned spacecraft Apollo 13 in April 1970. DAR President General Ann T. Dillon later announced the society’s sponsorship of the first major, patriotic investment in the upcoming 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026, with a donation to Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia of 76 trees planted in honor of the Spirit of ’76 that inspired the colonists to declare their independence.

On Education Awards Night, American History Essay winners were announced and read portions of their essays. Also recognized were the winners of the annual DAR Good Citizens Award, American History Scholarship winner and Outstanding Teacher of American History. A presentation of the NSDAR Excellence in American History Book Award was made to Patrick O’Donnell for his book, Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution.

During National Defense Night, President General Dillon announced a NSDAR donation to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society in support of the crew and families of the USS Fitzgerald after its tragic collision in June 2017. Daughters heard from United States Air Force General Lori J. Robinson, commander of the United States Northern Command and commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. She is the first female officer in the history of the United States Armed Forces to lead a major Unified Combatant Command. Ambassador Todd Sedgwick, Commissioner, World War I Centennial Commission, also addressed the assembly. Upon Commissioner Sedgwick’s mention of the unique National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, thunderous applause and proud whistles could be heard from members of several Kansas City area chapters!

The DAR Continental Congress is a time-honored annual gathering that has been held in Washington, D.C. since the organization’s founding. National, state and chapter leaders as well as other members from across the country and around the world meet at the DAR National Headquarters to report on the year’s work, honor outstanding award recipients, plan future initiatives and reconnect with friends. The week-long convention consists of business sessions, committee meetings, and social functions, and is topped off with formal evening ceremonies at which national DAR award winners are honored.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With more than 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org. Women over 18 interested in joining DAR through the Independence Pioneers Chapter are invited to contact Bev Agut at bragut3@gmail.com.