More than 3,500 members of the Daughters of the American Revolution convened in the nation’s capital for the 126th Continental Congress, the latest gathering of the longstanding service organization’s annual meeting.
The keynote speaker for the Opening Night Ceremony was retired NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz, who was also awarded the DAR Medal of Honor. Additionally, the ceremony recognized retired NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson, also with the DAR Medal of Honor, and California State University Monterey Bay President Eduardo Ochoa with the DAR Americanism Medal.
In attendance were Daquiri Champion, regent, of Niceville; Jennifer Wickman, delegate, of Fort Walton Beach; and Susan Vanderzyde, delegate, of Destin, representing the West Florida Chapter in Destin.
A special presentation during the Opening Night Ceremony put a spotlight on the upcoming 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026 and the leading role DAR will play in the preparations. DAR Honorary President General Lynn Forney Young was recently appointed to the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission. The DAR also announced the first major, patriotic investment in the commemoration: a donation to Independence National Historical Park of 76 trees planted in honor of the Spirit of ’76 that inspired the colonists to declare their independence.
At the evening ceremony honoring our nation’s military personnel and veterans, the keynote speaker and Margaret Cochran Corbin Award honoree was Gen. Lori Robinson, USAF. As commander of the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Gen. Robinson is the first female officer to command a major Unified Combatant Command in the history of the United States Armed Forces. She is the highest-ranking woman in U.S. military history. Additional awards presented that evening honored the Army Nurse of the Year and outstanding volunteers for veterans.
At the evening ceremony dedicated to education, the DAR Excellence in American History Book Award was presented to "Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution" by Patrick O’Donnell. Other honorees included exceptional students and the DAR Outstanding Teacher of American History. At another evening event, DAR members were treated to a special introduction to the new Museum of the American Revolution by its President and CEO Michael Quinn.
"The energy that results from more than 3,500 dedicated DAR members gathering in one place never fails to produce inspiration, creative breakthroughs and true camaraderie," said Ann T. Dillon, president general. “We are grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the hard work and accomplishments of the past year, including the donation of hundreds of thousands of dollars to preservation, education and patriotic endeavors and the contribution of millions of hours of volunteer service in our communities. When considered as a whole, the reports presented at Continental Congress offer irrefutable proof that the DAR remains a relevant, vital and multifaceted force in cities and towns across the country.”
While at Congress, members attended the Historic Preservation luncheon, Units Overseas Committee Luncheon and International Shopping Bazaar, Patriotism Luncheon, and various business and evening events. Members also served on the Registration Committee.
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.