I’m staying at a downtown Washington, D.C. hotel and the D.A.R. — the Daughters of the American Revolution — is in the house, big time. The group has flooded the Nation’s Capital for an annual conference. According to a pleasant woman in the elevator, 3,500 of the D.A.R. members are here. Yesterday all of them seemingly were genteelly and graciously packed, cheek to jowl, into the atrium lobby of my hotel.
Two observations about the D.A.R. First, this is a group that really, really likes the American flag. From the little decorations on the lobby desk that featured Old Glory and the D.A.R. flag, to the red, white, and blue themes of many outfits, to the little jeweled and spangled pins sported by some members, flag references were everywhere.
Second, the D.A.R. must be one of the top national consumers of ribbons and medals. The ribbons — which surprisingly seem to come in red, white and blue — are worn just below the shoulder on one side, and the medals are pinned on the other. The medals are actual metal, too.
According to my fellow elevator riders, at least some of the medals show how many relatives and ancestors were D.A.R. members. That is pretty awesome, because some of the very well-coiffed ladies had phalanxes of medals tugging at their blouses that made them look like Soviet era generals atop Lenin’s tomb for the May Day parade. One woman had to walk around with one hand daintily but firmly pressed against her collar bone to keep her astonishingly vast and undoubtedly heavy medals board from ripping her blouse to shreds. Every one of her female ancestors must have been a D.A.R. member — maybe back to the Revolution itself.