Recognized as Best 2019 & 2020 VASSAR Website
Independence Day Commemoration at Mount Vernon - 2020
On July 4th 2020 the George Washington Chapter conducted their 59th annual wreath laying at George Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon in a very innovative manner -- partly live and partly recorded, for a two-part virtual commemoration.
Earlier in the morning a select group of 10 SAR and DAR members conducted a live wreath laying ceremony at the tomb that was recorded for later viewing. The participants in the activity were: Chapter Vice-President Tom Roth, who served as Master of Ceremonies; VASSAR President Bill Schwetke, who presented greetings from SAR; Chapter co-Historian Jack Coulter, who served as co-wreath bearer to the tomb, along with Bill Schwetke; Chapter Treasurer Richard Rankin and Chapter Compatriot Don Francisco (also fifer-in-residence at Mount Vernon), who jointly presented red carnations to George Washington’s tomb; DAR representatives Dr. Sharla Rausch and Catherine Schwetke, who jointly presented pink carnations to Martha Washington’s tomb; Chapter Secretary Rand Pixa, who served as videographer for the ceremony; and Ken Bonner and Jason Northam who served as the VASSAR Color Guard. In addition, we were honored to have the presence of Mount Vernon CEO Doug Bradburn who spoke on the patriotic significance of the event.
Later that morning the George Washington Chapter hosted a virtual commemoration of the wreath laying by Zoom, with nearly 100 SAR, DAR and CAR members participating. The event included the normal SAR meeting protocols, with the additional remote playing of patriotic music by two musicians from the Frederick Town Fife and Drum Corps. As a bonus, the winner of the Rumbaugh Oration Contest Lauren Bradshaw presented a video recording of her stirring oration from the VASSAR Congress. The commemoration included the virtual presentation of additional wreaths from eight other SAR chapters, 26 DAR districts and chapters, and nine CAR societies.
Just before the SAR recessional, the video replay of the tomb ceremony was shown to the attendees at the Zoom meeting
Temporary Closure: NSSAR Headquarters
March 16, 2020
In light of the recent events around the country regarding the coronavirus, the National Society Sons of the American Revolution headquarters will be closed. We anticipate this closure to last until March 30th. If the situation changes, we may be closed for a longer period or possibly reduce that time frame.
It is a very fluid situation at the moment and we are attempting to stay abreast of the most recent changes. With that in mind, the President General approved this closure.
Merchandise shipments and order processing, application reviews, record copy request, etc. will be suspended until we return.
Thank you for your understanding.
Michael T. Scroggins
Director of Operations, NSSAR
A Message From the Chapter President
Welcome to the website of the George Washington Chapter of the Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution! If you are new to the SAR, or to the George Washington Chapter, I hope you enjoy reading about and enjoying some of the photographs that capture many of our annual and one-of-a-kind activities. If you are already a member, I encourage you to explore the Members Only resources that are available to you on this site.
If you are not familiar with the Sons of the American Revolution, we are the leading male lineage society dedicated to perpetuating the ideals of the war for independence. As an historical, educational, and patriotic, non-profit corporation, we seek to maintain and expand the meaning of patriotism, respect for our national symbols, the value of American citizenship, and the unifying force of "e pluribus unum" that was created from the people of many nations -- one nation and one people. "In God We Trust".
In 2020, the George Washington Chapter is proudly celebrating its 66th year of advancing the goals and ideals of the SAR in Alexandria and the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County. Our location and wide range of activities makes us one of the most dynamic chapters in the country. Whether it is participating in the annual July 4th wreath-laying ceremony at Mount Vernon, marching in the National Memorial Day Parade or Alexandria's Washington's Birthday Parade, honoring local police officers and firefighters with SAR awards, judging a youth contest, honoring local Patriots by marking their graves, or just enjoying a fabulous lunch with a fascinating speaker, there are many ways for a new member to get involved in the work of the SAR. Our members also are active at the state and national levels of the SAR, serving as national officers, state officers, state committee chairmen and national committee members.
Our regular monthly meetings are held September through May at the beautiful Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria. These meetings generally feature a prominent speaker in a field related to the American Revolution, U.S. history and government, or other key issues of the day.
If you are already a member of the SAR and would like to join the George Washington Chapter, please contact our Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome all new members. If you are not a member of the SAR and would like more information about joining the SAR and the George Washington Chapter, please click on our Membership page or contact our Registrar, at email@example.com. Membership is open to any adult male who is a lineal descendant of a Revolutionary War soldier or patriot. Women and children interested in perpetuating the ideals of our Patriot ancestors may wish to contact the Daughters of the American Revolution (www.dar.org) or the Children of the American Revolution (www.nscar.org).
Thank you for your interest in the George Washington Chapter. I hope you will join us in the important work of the SAR as we strive to honor our Patriot ancestors by extending the legacy of the freedom for which they were willing to sacrifice all.
Jay M. Henn
George Washington Chapter Participates in the 2019 Wreaths Across America
REMEMBERING our fallen U.S. veterans
HONORING those who serve
Through the generous donations of the George Washington Chapter membership 200 wreaths were purchased and donated to the 2019 Wreaths Across America.
On Saturday, December 14, 2019, the George Washington Chapter participated in Wreaths Across America (WAA), by placing Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes at Alexandria National Cemetery – our Nation’s first National cemetery – and saying their names aloud in honor of their service. It was through the generous donations coming from the Chapter’s membership that 200 wreaths were purchased and donated to the 2019 WAA Program. Thank you one and all.
BRINGING OUR PATRIOTS TO LIFE
One of the responsibilities we have as members of the NSSAR is the recognition and honoring of our Revolutionary War military veterans and civilian patriots. To this end, I have been actively involved with the development and implementation of a new NSSAR website, Patriot Research System (PRS), which details our revolutionary war lineages and biographies of our Patriots.
NSSAR PRS (http://sarpatriots.sar.org/)
A key part of making the PRS a success is an effort to upload all of the existing approved lineages - the NSSAR approved record copy (RC) you got when you first joined the Society. These RCs detail the Compatriot’s lineage to his Patriot as well as critical information about each Patriot.
There are efforts underway in several State Societies to organize teams of volunteers to enter RC information. I am proposing we join these efforts, with the immediate goal of entering the RC information for each GWSAR member.
If you are interested in joining me in this highly rewarding and worthwhile effort, please contact me, Jamie Callender, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From NSSAR President General, Jack Manning:
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly presented challenges and cancellations this year. Regretfully, the Executive Committee, pursuant to the authority granted to it by the April 17, 2020 ballot vote of the Board of Trustees, has concluded that the 2020 Annual Congress, originally scheduled for Richmond, Virginia, must be canceled. The Executive Committee waited as long as possible to see how Virginia’s, and more specifically Richmond’s, reopening plans would impact the Annual Congress. The continuing restrictions enacted by governmental authorities concerning meetings, dining and travel, as well as the health and safety of our membership, has led the Executive Committee to conclude that holding the Annual Congress in Richmond is not possible. The Richmond Marriott, the designated Annual Congress hotel, has been informed that the Congress contract is terminated due to impossibility.
The Executive Committee understands that many State Societies and Chapters have conducted successful meetings electronically during this pandemic. The Executive Committee fully supports these efforts and encourages other State Societies and Chapters to use alternative means to continue the local recognition of our Patriot ancestors, especially as the calendar moves closer to the Fourth of July. The Executive Committee, meeting weekly since March 20, 2020, and Congress Planning Committee Chairman Paul Callanan, devoted considerable effort to researching whether a “virtual” or “Zoom” Congress would be feasible. However, Bylaw No. 17 of the Bylaws of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution does not permit the National Society to hold a Congress by “alternative means.” Therefore, the Executive Committee has reached the conclusion that there will be no Annual Congress held in 2020. This is not only consistent with what other similar organizations, such as the American Legion, have determined this year, but with our own precedent concerning both the 1918 and 1945 Annual Congresses.
No Annual Congress means there will be no election for General Officers, Vice Presidents General, Trustees, or Alternate Trustees in 2020. Pursuant to the National Society’s bylaws, the current General Officers, Vice Presidents General, Trustees, and Alternate Trustees will continue in their present positions until July 2021.
What does this mean for Districts and State Societies? As the Vice President General, Trustee and Alternate Trustee are National Society offices, the presently serving individuals will remain in office. Vacancies in these positions may be filled according to the National Society’s governing documents, however, because no election will be held in 2020, any individual filling a vacancy will not be a member of the Board of Trustees unless elected to such at the July 2019 Congress.
What does this mean for General Officer candidates? As there will be no elections in 2020, all individuals wishing to run for General Office will be required to seek nomination through the normal nominating procedure. Candidates for National Office will be permitted to announce their candidacy ten days after the 2020 Annual Congress would have ended (Saturday, July 25, 2020).
What does this mean for National Committees? Committee Chairs should submit their annual report by no later than July 1, 2020. The National Society will publish an electronic report book, available to all members on Share file, detailing the General Officer and Committee operations for 2019-2020, by the end of July 2020. Committees wishing to meet during the summer should reach out to either their General Officer liaison or the Executive Director.
What does this mean for my hotel reservation in Richmond? Congress Planning Chairman Callanan will handle canceling room reservations which are part of the SAR “block.” The Richmond Marriott or the Richmond Hilton will send out a cancelation verification email on or after June 1, 2020. If you made your own reservation using Marriott BonVoy, Hilton Honors, another travel program or made reservations using a discounted rate (e.g. military, government, AAA, etc.), you must cancel your own reservation. Questions, concerns, difficulties with the hotel may be referred to Chairman Callanan (email@example.com) who will help work the issue.
As with all of you, Sheila and I enjoy attending the Annual Congress to see our friends, participate in the youth competitions, and enjoy the fellowship with our compatriots and family. The members of the Executive Committee feel the same. Notwithstanding canceling the Annual Congress is the correct decision based on the factors outlined above. It is certainly my goal to continue moving the Sons of the American Revolution forward during the coming year. More details will be disseminated as they become available. I urge all trustees and alternate trustees to attend the virtual Trustees meeting scheduled for May 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
National Society Sons of the American Revolution
From VASSAR President Bill Schwetke:
As many of you already know, our National Society’s Executive Committee has decided that there will not be a physical 2020 Congress in Richmond. This decision protects our compatriots from the danger posed by this pandemic, and reflects the uncertainty of future pandemic restrictions by several layers of government.
This is an appropriate time to give thanks to the many compatriots and family members who worked hard on making the Richmond Congress a success: those who participated in organization and planning, financially supported this effort, or volunteered to serve during the congress. Your willingness to serve and your efforts would have made this a memorable Congress. Thank you very much.
Now is a good time to focus on what does lie ahead. The pandemic is with us, and we must not be deterred by it in our efforts to keep alive and spread the Spirit of 1776; and to continue our original purpose in helping reunite a divided country, needed today just as much as it was in 1890. Take advantage of the ability to hold our ceremonies and conduct our business online. Then, as we begin again to do these things in physical meetings, be sure to protect each other, and follow the current guidelines to the best of your ability.
Thanks again to each of you who have participated in our preparations for the Richmond Congress. Keep in mind that we have a strategic goal of hosting the 2031 Congress, called by Chancellor Eric Monday the “Victory Congress”, to celebrate victory at Yorktown. I pray that God bless our great country, and bless each of you, and yours, with good health and prosperity in these difficult times.
Bill William L. Schwetke
President, Virginia SAR
Please see the report on Virginia Dispatches for more information at: http://www.virginiasar.org/latest-news/2020-congress-hotel-reservations-open
VASSAR GOLD MEDAL GALA – 9 NOV 2019
(Left) Presentation of the Gold Good Citizenship Medal and Certificate to General Gordon R. Sullivan – presented by VASSAR President, Peter Davenport, NSSAR Past President General, Joseph Dooley and George Washington Chapter President, Dave Thomas; (Right) Honoree General Sullivan paying personal respects to the U.S. Army Continental Color Guard during the Pledge of Allegiance
On Saturday, November 9, 2019 the George Washington Chapter had the unique honor to host the Virginia Society, Gold Good Citizenship Medal Gala at Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, VA. The honoree for this year’s Gold Good Citizenship Medal was General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.), former Chief of Staff of the Army and member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Sullivan was honored and recognized by the NSSAR Virginia Society for his distinguished military service to the United States. Currently, General Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Army Historical Foundation, playing a major role in the creation of the new National Museum of the United States Army at nearby Ft. Belvoir. VASSAR President, Peter Davenport and other VASSAR, VADAR and US military dignitaries were in attendance. Arrangements were made with the Military District of Washington to honor General Sullivan and gala attendees with the Presentation of the Colors by U.S. Army Continental Color Guard, and the playing of patriotic music by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Brass Quintet. The Master of Ceremonies was George Washington Chapter’s own Mike Elston, who hosted the gala event to the 77 guests in attendance. VASSAR President, Peter Davenport, SAR Past-President General, Joe Dooley and George Washington Chapter President, Dave Thomas presented the Gold Good Citizenship Medal and Certificate to General Sullivan.
Master of Ceremonies, Mike Elston reading the biography of General Gordon Sullivan
Public Service Award Committee Report
The award breakdown is as follows:
HEROISM AWARD: 11
- Alexandria Fire Department received 2 awards.
- Alexandria Police Department received 3 awards.
- Alexandria Sheriff’s Department received 2 awards.
- Fairfax Fire Department received 1 award.
- Prince William Police Department received 3 awards.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES AWARD: 23
- Alexandria Fire Department received 9 awards.
- Prince William Fire Department received 14 awards.
LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMENDATION AWARD: 20
- Alexandria Police Department received 5 awards.
- Alexandria Sheriff’s Department received 3 awards.
- Prince William Police Department received 12 awards.
FIRE SAFETY COMMENDATION AWARD: 9
- Alexandria Fire Department received 1 award.
- Fairfax Fire Department received 5 awards.
- Prince William Fire Department received 3 awards.
LIFE SAVING AWARD: 2
- Alexandria Sheriff’s Department received 1 award.
- Prince William Fire Department received 1 award.
PENDING AWARDS: 2
- Law Enforcement Commendation: Fairfax County Police Department.
- Fire Safety Commendation: Dunn Loring Fire Department.
For the New Year, there are currently nine awards in process for the Mount Vernon Station, Fairfax County Police Department involving a barricade situation as well as another for meritorious service.
I expect to receive other nominations as we move toward Valor Award nominations for the various local