Edenton Tea Party Chapter NSDAR announces that Beth Taylor, chapter first vice regent, won the Outstanding State Member (OSM) Award for honoring and thanking Vietnam veterans.

The announcement that Taylor won this prestigious award was made by the DAR Commemorative Events State Chair during the 121st North Carolina State Conference.

This recognition is for “outstanding accomplishments by an individual DAR member in her efforts to honor and thank Vietnam War Veterans.” On the endorsement of the North Carolina State Regent Carole Weiss, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognizes one person from each state at Continental Congress, which is normally held the end of June, but will be virtual again this year.

Since November 2014, Taylor has honored Vietnam veterans from Chowan County. Initially, she had to do extensive paper work to have the chapter become recognized as a Commemorative Partner for Vietnam War Commemoration 50th Anniversary.

Then, as chairman of the chapter’s 50th Anniversary Committee, Taylor started working on a celebration to honor the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam War Veterans; she spent many hours organizing a special program to carry out this objective. The date of this was set for November 15, 2014, and the program had a Vietnam Veteran speaker. Within the framework of this ceremony, five Chowan County Vietnam veterans who were killed while serving in Vietnam were honored.

The 2014 ceremony was held at Beaver Hill Cemetery where one of the young men is buried.

All five families of the casualties were invited, and all the families attended. Several hundred people were in attendance including Vietnam Veterans of America #631, Elizabeth City, NC, and Patriot Guard Riders #631. The Colors were posted by the Elizabeth City Coast Guard and they concluded the ceremony by playing Taps. Proclamations were received from the Town of Edenton, then-Governor Pat McCrory, and our NC House of Representatives. The speaker was a retired Vietnam Veteran Chaplain; he spoke about how Vietnam Veterans had been treated when they returned home. Special presentations were made to the families of the five fallen soldiers, and Flags flown over the US Capital with special certificates and NSDAR certificates were presented to each family. Afterward, wreaths were laid at each grave site with families, DAR members and veterans present.

Mrs. Taylor said it was the most emotional, heartwarming event she had ever had the privilege to be associated with as a participant, and that all her hard work was worth every minute. As one family member wrote, “it was an emotional time; we are so indebted to Beth Taylor for pulling this event together.”

In connection with the Barker House, Beth collected memorabilia from the families and set up an exhibit for the five veterans. This turned out to be an extremely popular exhibit with the families and the Chowan County and surrounding communities.

During 2015, Mrs. Taylor presented DAR certificates for Vietnam Veterans to over ten Vietnam Veterans at meetings, luncheons, or church. On May 29, 2015, she presented a certificate to a Gold Star Mother at a lunch; this was very heartwarming but incredibly sad as this was her only child.

In early 2016 at the local American Legion Post meeting, Beth presented the Post with all the Proclamations and the Vietnam Banner that had been received from the 50th Anniversary Vietnam Veteran Committee.

On December 12, 2019, Taylor involved the Edenton Tea Party Chapter, NSDAR in Wreaths Across America (WAA) and the chapter placed wreaths on the five graves of fallen Vietnam Soldiers in Chowan County. She organized the event, had 20 chapter members participate and a Vietnam Veteran spoke at the local cemetery. Afterwards, chapter members dispersed to the five individual grave sites; at each site, a DAR member made remarks and DAR members laid a wreath. Family members spoke at each site and as one family member said, “We are indebted to ’Miss Beth’ for bringing us together and remembering our loved ones after all these years. They were not remembered 50 years ago.”

On December 19, 2020, Wreaths Across America(WAA) was organized by Beth, and once again the five fallen Vietnam Soldiers from Chowan County were remembered. The same format as in 2019 was used and the family remarks makes it worth the time spent on this project. One sister of a fallen veteran had not been to her brother’s grave in years and said she is so thankful that Beth gave of her time and energy to organize this event.

Contact Nicole Bowman-Layton at nlayton@ncweeklies.com.