East County resident Mary Lou McFate shows patriotism every day, not just Independence Day.
With family lineage that dates back to the Revolutionary War, Mary Lou McFate has patriotism in her blood.
McFate, a Palm-Aire resident, is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), a group whose members descend from patriots of the Revolutionary War.
"Patriotism is being sacrificial. For those in the military, for the rest of us general, we are being sacrificial by showing our flag every day or on a holiday to go downtown to see a parade and thank military for their service. It’s doing things for other people. We’re all proud to be Americans." — Mary Lou McFate
She connected her husband, Don Chab, to another DAR member and genelogist, Linda Becker. Becker researched his family history and found an ancestor who participated in the Revolutionary War — then, it wasn’t difficult for McFate to persuade Chab to join the men’s society, Sons of the American Revolution. His swearing-in ceremony was held June 26.
“I was very moved,” McFate said, after the ceremony. “I know how important it is to him. He loves this country very much.”
McFate’s pride in her country began early.
Growing up in western Pennsylvania, McFate’s parents taught her and her brother patriotic games, such as singing the names of the first colonies and naming all the American cities with patriotic names, such as Independence, Mo.
“We always said good things about the country,” she said.
She also remembers when children would wind red, white and blue streamers through the spokes of their bicycles and ride in her hometown’s parades.
Her family’s tradition of service continued long after the Revolutionary War. Both of her grandfathers served in World War I; her dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II; and her son was in the 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers in the Army. Chab became a U.S. Marine when he was 18 and fought in the Korean War.
“I’m very proud that I have family that participated in that great experiment they call democracy,” she said.
McFate has been involved in DAR since the 1970s and welcomed her daughter, Shelley, into the organization.
McFate has traveled to more than 100 countries, yet she still places her own at the top of the list.
“I love this country,” she said. “We have so many freedoms. It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers imagined here.”
For McFate, the Fourth of July is a time to reflect.
“The holiday is a wonderful time to have an intergenerational celebration and conversation — what it means to be an American,” she said.
This story was changed at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, to reflect that Linda Becker completed the research to verify Don Chab's eligibility to join Sons of the American Revolution.