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Inside this Issue

September/October 2018

Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.

National Treasures
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.

More Articles
Learn about the interesting historical articles from this issue.

To Come in Our Next Issue
Preview the exciting stories to be featured in the next issue of American Spirit.

Today's Daughters
From Practical to Passionate

Volume 152, Number 5
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of LCDR Katherine Cheng

Illinois Daughter finds purpose in her work as a member of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps

When Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Katherine Meister Cheng joined the U.S. Navy 10 years ago, she was looking for a practical way to pay for the expense of dental school.

She received the Navy’s health professions scholarship, which paid her tuition in exchange for four years of active duty service in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps, which provides dental support for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps worldwide.  

But once her service began, LCDR Cheng, a member of North Shore DAR Chapter, Lake Forest, Ill., found much more than tuition assistance—she also found a rewarding profession.

“I hadn’t initially considered making it a career, but the lifestyle suits me,” she said. “I enjoyed the working environment and educational opportunities possible in the military. I also found I really enjoy dental education and developing junior officers both clinically and professionally.”

LCDR Cheng started her career as a dental resident at Naval Branch Health Clinic Great Lakes (now the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center), where she’s currently serving as the director of the Advanced Education in General Dentistry resident training program. She was recently selected for promotion to commander, a title she will assume later next year. 

A typical day involves overseeing and assisting dental residents with treatment planning, diagnosing and performing dental treatments on patients at one of the FHCC’s dental clinics at Naval Station Great Lakes. 

“I get to work every day with new graduates from dental school who are just starting out their careers and know only the basics of dentistry,” she said. “I have the privilege of developing them into naval officers who practice dentistry at a level elevated from their peers. I have former residents stationed in the United States and Japan, and I smile each time I see them thriving in their current roles.”

LCDR Cheng has also served abroad. She was stationed as a dental officer onboard the USS Whidbey Island, an amphibious warship that deployed to the Mediterranean Sea during the political unrest in Libya in 2011.

After completing specialty training at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in Bethesda, Md., LCDR Cheng became board-certified in general dentistry—an achievement only 1 percent of general dentists can claim. Afterward, she and her husband, Jerry, were assigned to the Marine Corps’ 3rd Dental Battalion in Okinawa, Japan, where they served for three years.

They took the opportunity to travel around the region, visiting mainland Japan, Thailand, Singapore, China, Guam and South Korea. Living abroad resulted in a strengthened spirit of patriotism.

“Living overseas allowed me to appreciate being an American in a new way, and it increased my interest in our country’s history and what it means to be a Patriot,” LCDR Cheng said. 

These days, she has traded the demands of deployment with those of parenting two young children—Julia, age 4, and Henry, age 1. She manages to start most days with a 4:30 a.m. workout.

“This habit does not necessarily come easily to me,” LCDR Cheng admitted, “but I have found in this season of life that the early morning is the only time to fit it in. Since the job requires that I maintain a certain standard of physical fitness, this is when it gets done.”

Her workday typically ends at 3:30 p.m., allowing her time to eat dinner and spend quality time with her husband and children. “Time is one of our most precious resources,” she said. “Being intentional about spending time with my family allows me to put everything into perspective, appreciate life’s many blessings, and gives me strength to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.” 

For more Today’s Daughters, please click here.

To nominate a Daughter for a future issue, e-mail a description to

National Treasures
Fashion Fore-ward

Volume 152, Number 5
Photo courtesy of Alden O'Brien

This short cape, both warm and chic, reflects the enormous popularity of golf at the turn of the 20th century. Golf, along with tennis and bicycling, was embraced by young Americans who inspired the term “The New Woman,” characterized by independent women who desired a more active and engaged life outside the home. 

Golf’s Scottish origins inspired widespread use of wool plaid for golf skirts and shoulder capes. This cape uses a wool plaid for a border, suggesting it may have been designed to wear on a golf course. However, its high neck and decorative stitching suggest it may have been intended as street wear, rather than sportswear.

For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.

More Articles

Visions of America: Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes by Megan Hamby
Family-owned farms around the country annually invite members of their communities to pick pumpkins, find their way through elaborate corn mazes and simple revel in the arrival of fall.

Boston Light by Nancy Mann Jackson
The nation’s first lighthouse opened in Boston Harbor more than 300 years ago. First lit on September 14, 1716, the lighthouse that still stands on Little Brewster Island dates from 1783.

What to Know When Purchasing a Historic Property by Lena Anthony
Prospective buyers of historic structures have a long list of things to consider before signing on the dotted line. DAR members share their experiences after restoring their own historic homes.

The Journey of Revolutionary War Printer Charles Cist by Emily McMackin
Charles Cist emigrated from Russia to America in the 1770s and began a successful printing career, being one of the first to print some of the most pivotal documents of the Revolutionary War era.

Laird & Company: America’s Oldest Distillery by Courtney Peter
After Robert Laird supplied Continental Army troops with fermented apple spirits, he began Laird & Company Distillers in Scobeyville, N.J., believed to be the nation’s first commercial distillery.


Spirited Adventures: Concord, N.H. by Bill Hudgins
The capital of the Live Free or Die state attracts visitors with its historic downtown, vibrant cultural scene and easy access to New Hampshire’s mountains and seacoast.

Historic Homes: Historic Odessa by Jamie Roberts
Once a vibrant Delaware port city until the arrival of the railroad, Odessa has regained prominence after carefully preserving and maintaining its 18th and 19th century buildings.

Our Patriots: William Shepard by Bill Hudgins
This Revolutionary general and veteran of many major battles was later vilified for leading militia who fought Regulators during Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts.

Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot

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To Come in November/December 2018:

DAR and the Great War

On the Oregon Trail: The Story of Marie Dorion

Remembering the Ocmulgee