DAR recognizes Memorial Day and Juneteenth | lifestyles

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) met Saturday, May 14 at the Pulaski County Library. Her special speaker was Mr Clarence Floyd, who represented the Honor Guard flag program here in Somerset. He delivered a moving and interesting program about the flag and the needs of veterans in our area. Mr. Floyd is a Korean War veteran himself, and one of his most patriotic memories was returning home from the war and seeing the giant US flag in Seattle harbor, signifying that he truly was HOME. He explained various aspects of the flag, including how the words “Old Glory” came about, what the folding of the flag symbolized, and how to properly dispose of worn and tattered flags (i.e. the average “lifespan” of a flag flying outside is about six Months). He mentioned that there are many occasions in Somerset where people can bring their tattered flags for respectful disposal, all of which are overseen by the Honor Guard. Regarding the Honor Guard itself, Mr Floyd said they attend funerals and funeral services at the family’s request to guard the coffin, fold the flag and present the flag to the family, as well as a 13-gun salute and the games of Tap if possible. He explained that the honor guard does not speak during these rituals to show respect to the family. Dressed in full uniform, they march in, perform their duties in silence, and then quietly leave. Mr Floyd ended his presentation by mentioning that a Memorial Day ceremony will be held in Mill Springs on Monday May 30 to which all are invited.

‘Juniteenth’ credit was given by Kay Spillman. June 16 is now an official federal holiday, instituted by President Biden last year. It commemorates the final declaration of slave emancipation at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Specifically, it commemorates the event on June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure that all enslaved people were actually freed. Ms Spillman quoted from the book I Was Born into Slavery, which chronicles stories of former slaves who are now very old and speaking in their own words about their memories of that time. A brief excerpt captures the sentiments and range of emotions of the freed slaves: “A man I knew named George called out in a powerful voice, ‘Free, free, my lord. Oh! Free, free, sir. Lord – free, free, free.’ … That evening we had a big corn husking (celebration)”.

And finally, Barbara Perry presented a short biography of the DAR Patriot of the Month: James Otis Jr. (1725-1783). He came to prominence as the Attorney General of Massachusetts in the 1760s. According to John Adams’ personal account, it was James Otis who provided much of the argument against the Crown’s supremacy, which continued to build in the 1760s. According to John Adams, the American Revolution began on February 24, 1761, when Otis argued passionately for five hours against the Crown’s recent ‘Writs of Assistance’ (ie these ‘Writs’ giving full search warrants to British soldiers). ). Otis’ arguments stirred and inspired others to join the colonists’ growing protest against the heavy hand of the Crown. Although he did not author the phrase “Taxation without representation is tyranny,” he certainly drew inspiration from his writings. But tragically, all this came to an immediate end in 1769, when he suffered brain damage at the hands of a British official whom Otis had criticized in a newspaper article. The attack incapacitated Otis and abruptly ended his public career. He was marginalized by the tumultuous 1770s and the events leading up to the founding of the nation. His injuries led to him being labeled a “harmless lunatic” who drank heavily and roamed the streets of Boston. It is interesting that his family took up the banner of Otis in the 1770s by assuming leadership roles in the revolution that he might otherwise have taken (eg his sister, Mercy Otis Warren, was a satirist and playwright). His tragic life ended dramatically in 1783 when, while staying at a friend’s country house, he stepped outside to watch a thunderstorm and was killed by lightning! Historians remember him as the “founding father who could have been”.

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