It was a time of healing, reflection and gratitude for Judy Hatcher as she helped to place more than 500 flags on some of the 7,861 soldiers’ headstones at the American Cemetery in Anzio-Nettuno, Italy.
Hatcher’s father was wounded during the battle while carrying another soldier to safety.
She joined other DAR members from Rome and the Rome Girl Scouts in honoring the fallen. While visiting the Anzio Beachhead Museum she got a glimpse of the horrors, pain and loss the soldiers may have felt as they fought off the Germans during the January-May, 1944, battle, just prior to D-Day.
Hatcher did not grow up knowing her father. Being at the cemetery and then visiting the museum brought home the tragedy and desperation felt by the soldiers held on the beach under German fire.
“I came to a more generous understanding of both my father’s heroism and altered state after the war. I am grateful for the experience and the impact on my life for having gone to honor those lost there, and my father.”
For the past 12 years, Hatcher has been a member of Daughters of the American Revolution whose objectives are to help preserve American history, encourage patriotism and serve the community. More than 930,000 women have joined the organization since it was founded nearly 125 years ago.
“We don’t sit around in white gloves and fancy hats, we are active in the community,” said Hatcher. The Antelope Valley Chapter supports veterans locally and nationally. “Yearly we honor an individual JROTC member from each of our local high schools with the DAR Bronze Medal and assist local schools and the community in celebrating our Constitution during Constitution Week each September. Nationally there are chapters larger than ours that maintain the preservation of Historic buildings.”
All chapters support, through the national organization, schools in Appalachia and two American Indian schools. “This is just a small portion of what the DAR is doing. It is a privilege and an honor to be a member.”