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September/October 2014

The committees in charge of the last three Presidential Inaugural Luncheons have asked the National Society for permission to use the bronze eagle lectern for the nationally televised ceremonial luncheons following the oath of office ceremonies. President George W. Bush used the lectern at his inaugural luncheon in 2005, and President Barack Obama did so in both 2009 and 2013.

The lectern’s plaque reads: “Presented to the NSDAR for Continental Memorial Hall by the Flintlock and Powderhorn Chapter of Pawtucket, Rhode Island April 17, 1905.”  It represents the chapter’s pledge of “loyalty to the organization, and in the interest of purity, patriotism and peace.” 

During her report at Continental Congress, Rhode Island State Regent Margaret Lippitt said, “this chapter of 52 members has sent to the Memorial Continental Hall a beautiful brass lectern, and exquisitely bound Bible, as a free gift to the whole organization. In this unique and beautiful offering the chapter honors not only itself but the state and its State Regent, who thus tenders publicly the thanks already sent in private.”

Eagle lecterns are very common in Christian churches and cathedrals, as the eagle is the symbol used to depict John the Apostle. In 1782 the eagle, full of the boundless spirit of freedom, living above the valleys, strong and powerful in his might, became the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought.

Although the Flintlock and Powderhorn Chapter has been disbanded, its gift to the National Society now resides in the President General’s Assembly Room as a reminder of the chapter’s wish to give a permanent memorial to NSDAR.  Frequently used at important early DAR ceremonies and at Continental Congress, it was on the platform when President Woodrow Wilson spoke at the 25th Continental Congress in 1916.

As President Woodrow Wilson addresses the 25th Continental Congress in 1916, the eagle lectern is visible at the left of the stage.