For those George Washington Chapter members who have a son, grandson, brother or a nephew and have not yet submitted or encouraged them for SAR membership this is an excellent time to consider their respective membership.

Sons, Grandsons, Brothers & Nephews - Members in SAR?

2018 George Washington Chapter’s Veterans Day Wreath Laying Ceremony at Mt. Vernon

On November 11, 2018 the George Washington Chapter Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution and the Kate Waller Barrett Chapter, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution conducted their annual Veteran's Day commemoration and wreath laying ceremony at General Washington's tomb at Mount Vernon.  VASSAR President, Pat Kelly and Chapter Compatriot Dick Kusserow laid the Chapter wreath at the foot of Gen. George Washington’s Tomb.  We were also honored to have DAR Regent of the Kate Waller Barrett Chapter, Clare Bennett provide remarks to those assembled.

VASSAR President, Pat Kelly and Compatriot, Dick Kusserow laying the Chapter wreath at the foot of Gen. Washington’s Tomb

DAR Regent of the Kate Waller Barrett Chapter, Clare Bennett offers remarks to those assembled.

GWSAR President, Ernie Coggins extends greetings and remarks to those gathered at Gen. Washington’s Tomb.

To further honor our Nations veterans, the VASSAR Color Guard provided pageantry and posted the colors, while fifer Ret, Master Sargent, Don Francisco played patriotic music during the ceremony.

Wreath Laying Ceremony at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery.
On Saturday afternoon, September 08, 2018, under cloudy skies with intermittent rain, President General Warren Alter laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on behalf of the SAR.  Escorted by Soldiers of the Old Guard, PG Alter was assisted in placing the wreath by Virginia Society President Pat Kelly.  Virginia Color Guard Commander and Virginia Society Second Vice President Bill Schwetke and George Washington Chapter President Ernie Coggins were also part of the presentation party.  A good number of compatriots attended in spite of the weather, and members of the Virginia Society Color Guard formed a guard of honor on the steps leading to the Tomb.
The Sentinels who guard the Tomb are all volunteers and are considered to be the best of the elite 3rd United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). They guard the Tomb twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year regardless of the weather.  In addition to protecting this sacred site, the Soldiers of The Old Guard maintain reverence and silence.
The Tomb contains the remains of the Unknown Soldiers of World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.  The Unknown Soldier from World War I was interred on November 11, 1921.  A white marble sarcophagus was placed over the grave.  On May 30, 1958, the Unknowns from World War II and Korea were buried by the sarcophagus, and their graves were marked with flat marble slabs.  An Unknown from the Vietnam War was buried on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984 and this grave was also marked by a flat marble slab.  As the result of DNA analysis, these remains were identified and exhumed in 1998.  It has been decided that this crypt will remain vacant and the crypt cover was replaced with one inscribed with the words “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975.”
It has become an annual tradition for the George Washington Chapter of the Virginia Society to host this ceremony for the President General to honor the Unknowns and all who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

President General Warren Alter accompanied by Virginia President Pat Kelly and escorted by a Soldier of The Old Guard, lays a wreath for the National Society at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery on September 08, 2018. The Soldier with the red cap is the bugler and a member of The United States Army Band.

SAR Compatriots attending President General Alter’s wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Saturday, 08 September 2018. From left to right: Bill Schwetke, Dr. Don Reynolds, Ernie and Diane Coggins, Jeff Thomas, Ken Morris, Dennis Peterson, Dave Thomas, Dwight Whitney, Pat and Jennifer Kelly, Warren and Nancy Alter, Jim O’Kelley with grandson Bailey Friedman, Vern Eubanks, Dave Cook, Mike Taimi, Pete Davenport, Jack Pitzer, Joe Famme, and Rev. Dr. Gene Thomas. Photographer Tom Roth is not pictured.

George Washington Chapter Participates in the 2018 Wreaths Across America

REMEMBERING our fallen U.S. veterans

HONORING  those who serve

Through the generous donations of the George Washington Chapter membership 300 wreaths were purchased and donated to the 2018 Wreaths Across America.

(L to R) – Tom Roth, Jack Coulter (2018 WAA Chapter coordinator), John Brigden, Paul Walden, Peter Schmidt, Jamie Callender, and not pictured but in attendance Ernie Coggins, Greg Bodge and Isaac Bodge.
On Saturday, December 15, 2018, 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 300 wreaths were purchased and donated to the 2018 WAA Program, thus doubling the Chapter’s 2017 donation.  Thank you one and all.

GWSAR Chapter President, Ernie Coggins honoring a patriot by lay a wreath and saying his name aloud.

Public Service Award Committee Report

Thanks to the support of the Chapter leadership as well as our fellow compatriots, this has been a very successful year for the Public Service Awards Committee. During the year we have thus far awarded sixty-five Public Service Awards with two pending for the tenth and thirteenth of December. In addition, we have presented two Bronze Good Citizenship Medal Awards in lieu of Fire Safety Commendation Awards because one of the awardees is a past recipient.

The award breakdown is as follows:


  • 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.


  • Alexandria Fire Department received 9 awards.
  • Prince William Fire Department received 14 awards.


  • Alexandria Police Department received 5 awards.
  • Alexandria Sheriff’s Department received 3 awards.
  • Prince William Police Department received 12 awards.


  • Alexandria Fire Department received 1 award.
  • Fairfax Fire Department received 5  awards.
  • Prince William Fire Department received 3 awards.


  • Alexandria Sheriff’s Department received 1 award.
  • Prince William Fire Department received 1 award.


  • 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
departments. Again, I would like to thank the Board of Managers as well as the Chapter membership for supporting this program. The Departments are very appreciative and express that to me often.



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.


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

A Message From the Chapter President....

Welcome to the website of the George Washington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution! With over 275 members, we are Virginia's largest SAR chapter and one of the largest chapters in the world. In 2017, we are proudly celebrating our 63rd year of advancing the goals and ideals of the SAR in Alexandria and the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County.  We always have a warm welcome for new members, and I hope you will join us in the SAR's important work.

Our 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.

In all of our programs and events, we endeavor to remember and honor the Patriots who won our freedom and created a new nation, and we strive to keep America great and advance the American Dream. Specifically, SAR members seek to promote and extend:

  • the institutions of American freedom;
  • an appreciation for true patriotism;
  • a respect for our national symbols;
  • the value of American citizenship; and
  • the unifying force of e pluribus unum that has created, from the people of many nations, one nation and one people.

The George Washington Chapter is particularly well suited to the work of the SAR, as we count among our members many current and former high-ranking military, government, business and non-profit leaders. All of our members are dedicated to advancing the purposes of the SAR, and to living out its principles here in Northern Virginia.

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. For example, past speakers have included the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Archivist of the United States, the President & CEO of the Mt. Vernon Estate, and the Inspector General of the General Services Administration as well as local authors and historians whose work relates to the Revolutionary Era.

If you are already a member of the SAR and would like to join the George Washington Chapter, please contact our Secretary. 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. Membership is open to any adult male who is a lineal descendant of a Revolutionary War soldier or patriot. Women and children interested in joining should contact the Daughters of the American Revolution ( or the Children of the American Revolution (

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.


Dave Thomas

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