Inside this Issue
Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.
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.
Called Home to Serve
Volume 151, Number 6
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski
Living abroad during 9/11, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski returned to Indiana to begin a career in politics.
Like many Americans, Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski remembers exactly where she was on 9/11. She was living in Romania, wrapping up her day as a missionary at a local children’s burn unit. She and her husband, Dean Swihart, had been there less than a year. The daughter of an Air Force veteran and firefighter, Rep. Walorski grew up knowing the importance of serving one’s community, but 9/11 brought that lesson into clear focus.
“Watching my country under attack from afar changed my worldview forever,” said the member of William Tuffs DAR Chapter, Elkhart, Ind.
When Rep. Walorski returned to the United States in 2004, a longtime state representative who was retiring suggested she run for his seat. At the time, she was preoccupied with the failing health of her father, and she brushed off the idea. But his persistence won out.
“Our state was in great need,” she said. “Post 9/11, Indiana needed help quickly, and I wanted to be a part of the team that turned things around.”
Rep. Walorski was elected in 2004 and served three terms in the Indiana Statehouse, championing issues such as tax reform and economic growth. By 2009, “I felt like I had done what I promised my constituents,” she said. “I was in a very safe seat, and I felt like I wasn’t created just to stay in a safe seat.”
So she set her sights on Washington, D.C. After narrowly losing a congressional race in 2010, she was elected in 2012 to represent Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She currently serves on the Committee on Ways and Means. Previously, she served on the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.
“I’ve always been grateful for our liberty and freedom and the men and women who fight to protect it,” she said. “I entered this office ready to fight and undo a lot of injustices levied against our veterans. When they return home, they shouldn’t fall into a crack in the system. We’ve taken some good steps forward, but we have a long way to go.”
When Congress is in session, Rep. Walorski commutes every week from Indiana to Washington. She leaves Monday morning and returns home Friday night, sometimes working 14-hour days. Most of those hours are filled with meetings—with constituents and special interest groups—as well as House committee work and floor votes. When she’s out of session, she’s crisscrossing her district (which takes two hours by car to get from one end to the other) for town hall meetings, corporate tours, speaking engagements, ceremonies and dedications.
“In a single day, I might meet with groups of farmers, factory workers, middle-school students and veterans,” she said. “I can’t do what I do without my staff. We are a lean machine, but I am very fortunate because they are so efficient and committed to the work we do.”
What drew her to politics also drew her to the DAR, which she joined at the urging of her mother. “She worked really hard to join and became very active in our chapter,” Rep. Walorski said. “I wanted to be a part of that, because what we do as Daughters matters. We need to continue to educate future generations on how America was founded, what it means to be American, the significant role women played in that, and how it all weaves into the fabric of this country.”
When Rep. Walorski isn’t working, she’s spending time with her husband, Dean, a high-school teacher and professional saxophone player. Rep. Walorski has occasionally helped as his “roadie” when he’s touring. And when they lived in Romania, Dean taught the congresswoman how to play guitar.
“I love to play, but not for anyone but him,” she said.
For more Today’s Daughters, please click here.
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Sit in Style
Volume 151, Number 6, November/December 2017, Page 5
Photography by Patrick Sheary & Leo Sylvester
Chairs in this baroque style are often associated with the work of Philadelphia cabinetmakers, but this example’s family history and design details also suggest a Maryland connection. Unlike Philadelphia-made chairs of the period, this example features a boldly undulating crest rail on the top of the back, and its carved “trifid” feet are much more pointed. Also, the incised or “scratched” bead line along the side stiles and crest rail relate to other Maryland-made chairs of that time. Though we do not know the name of the cabinetmaker who made this walnut side chair, it can be dated sometime between 1740 and 1770.
According to family tradition, this chair, one of a pair, belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman, secretary and aide-de-camp to General George Washington. Based upon his birth date of 1744 and the age of the chair, it is unlikely that he was the original owner. However, it could have belonged to his parents, James and Anna Tilghman of Talbot County, Md.
For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.
A New Vision for the People’s House by Jamie Roberts
Home to the state’s governors and their families since 1855, the Illinois Executive Mansion is undergoing an extensive $15 million renovation, with a completion date tied to the Illinois bicentennial in 2018.
Preserving Historic Headstones: How to Start, What Not to Do and Where to Find Help by Courtney Peter
At many older graveyards and cemeteries, markers that are leaning, broken or nearly unreadable outnumber intact gravestones. Expert preservationists and DAR volunteers offer advice and anecdotes to inform and inspire anyone considering or undertaking a gravestone preservation project.
Wreaths of Remembrance by Emily McMackin
The simple, solitary act of laying a wreath at the foot of a fallen soldier’s grave or at the base of a monument to veterans is a quiet, symbolic gesture that can be understood across many different countries and cultures.
George Washington’s Life Guards by Matthew T. Schutz
The Commander-in-Chief’s Guard was a unit of the Continental Army that acted as personal guards for the general’s life and his important papers. Despite a treasonous few, most men of the Life Guard fought bravely in battles throughout the war.
Spirited Adventures: Christmas City, USA by Courtney Peter
First settled in 1741 by a group of Moravians, Bethlehem, Pa., is a showcase of Colonial and early American history, Germanic traditions and seasonal cheer.
Historic Homes: Sequoyah’s Cabin by Megan Hamby
Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee syllabary, built a one-room log cabin in 1829 shortly after moving to Oklahoma. It’s now a National Historic Landmark owned by the Cherokee Nation.
Our Patriots: John Laurens by Bill Hudgins
Though often impetuous, rash and reckless, Laurens—born to a wealthy South Carolina family and one of Washington’s aides-de-camp—dedicated his short life to the cause of liberty.
Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot
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To Come in January/February 2018:
The Business of Memorabilia
Robert Mills, Father of American Architecture
Spirited Adventures: Atlanta, Ga.