CoverMJ13In our May/June issue of American Spirit, the national magazine of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)*, we remember an often-unsung branch of our Armed Forces: The United States Coast Guard. In our cover feature we detail the wide-ranging history of Coast Guard, which was originally created in 1790 to raise revenues and pull the nation out of debt. It has evolved into a guardian of our shores, a protector of our borders and an “Always Ready” life-saving service. As president George H.W. Bush said, “No branch of service has been in the business of saving lives longer than the Coast Guard. … No other branch does more to protect our environment. Few do as much to defend our homeland against the shadowy threats of illegal drugs and, now, terrorism. … This remarkable institution … is so clearly indispensable to America’s future.”

Even with today’s high-tech weather radars and forecasting tools, extreme weather can uproot thousands of people, destroy homes and buildings and wreak havoc, as proven by the recent devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma and Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. But what if such a storm came with absolutely no warning? That’s what happened in 1635,when a massive hurricane hit the coast of New England with winds estimated at 130 miles an hour, making it possibly the strongest hurricane ever to hit the region. Our feature shows how early Americans dealt with such severe weather events — and tried to make sense of the natural world.

The issue also details the rocky beginnings of the Society of the Cincinnati, America’s oldest patriotic and hereditary organization, travels through the heart of the Bluegrass State to Paducah, Ky., a river town enjoying an arts renaissance, and visits the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s mansion near Nashville, Tenn.

Anyone can subscribe to American Spirit (here’s how) and many public and school libraries in the United States have subscriptions, thanks to local DAR chapters.

*For over a decade, Hammock has been honored to assist our friends at the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in publishing their award-winning magazine. For samples of covers and editorial features in issues since 2007, visit the Hammock Portfolio on Flickr.