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George Washington Chapter
Sons of the American Revolution
              Virginia Society

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Recognized as Best Virginia SAR Website

2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Honoring our Patriots and Compatriots

Patriot and Compatriot Grave Markings

  • The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) is a patriotic organization whose mission is to promote patriotism, preserve American history, and honor the sacrifices of those who fought for American independence. One of the ways we achieve this is through patriot grave marking events, and compatriot grave marking ceremonies.

  • Patriot grave marking events are a way for the SAR to honor the memory of the men and women who served during the American Revolution. Compatriot grave marking events are a way for the SAR to honor our deceased Compatriots (while simultaneously honoring each Compatriot's Patriot Ancestor) while publicizing the value of membership to their descendants.

  • To participate in a patriot grave marking event, the SAR must first locate a patriot's grave. This is typically done through genealogical research, which can be time-consuming and challenging. Once a grave has been located, the SAR will work with the cemetery to obtain permission to place a marker.

  • The marker itself is made of bronze (or more recently, a shift to etched flat markers) and features the name of the patriot, along with their rank and any other pertinent information. The bronze marker is placed on a stand that is anchored to the ground, ensuring that it will remain in place for years to come.  More recently, a shift to flat markers in etched stone have been used as some cemeteries no longer allow bronze markers.

  • On the day of the event, SAR members will gather at the gravesite for a short ceremony. This may include a color guard, the reading of a biography of the patriot, and the laying of a wreath. A musket salute is also typically performed, which involves firing three volleys into the air.

  • Patriot grave marking events have been a tradition of the SAR for over 100 years. They serve as a way to preserve the memory of those who fought for American independence, and to honor the sacrifices they made for our country. These events are also a way to educate the public about our nation's history and the important role that patriots played in securing our freedom.

  • SAR Compatriots may qualify for the Patriot (and/or Compatriot) Grave Marking Medal(s), the following criteria must be met:

  • a. The Compatriot must have participated in a prominent role during the planning and execution of the grave marking. This includes, but is not limited to, research/finding the grave, paying for or placing the SAR Member Marker (minimum: $60 donation), the Master of Ceremonies and Speaker/Presenter. With respect to the research or paying for the SAR Member Marker, a compatriot does not need to be a resident of the state in which the grave is located to conduct these activities.
  • b. The Compatriot must have participated, as defined above, in at least fifteen (15) grave marking events with a look back period to 1 January 2012.  Each medal, Patriot or Compatriot, is unique and qualification of 15 events, applies to both types and are not combined. 

Keep an eye on our event calendar for patriot grave marking ceremonies, or visit our recent grave marking events.  


The Grave Registration and Marking Committee chair coordinates our chapter's grave marking events, particular within Alexandria and the surrounding area.  For our chapter compatriots, let us know if you wish to help support your Patriot's grave markings in another state, we may be able to help.

  • The SAR Patriot Research System (PRS) serves as an invaluable and ever-growing resource of Patriot interments, but it is not all-encompassing.   

  • To submit comments, corrections, and new information for inclusion in the SAR PRS, use the following form Patriot Graves and Biographies Report and email it to NOTE: Please, include the patriot's number and citations and references to support your request along with your contact information.

  • To apply for the Patriot Grave Marking Medal, compatriots should complete the Grave Marking Medal Application Form (2019).  After 28 Sep 2018, an SAR Compatriot must contribute a minimum of $60 to each grave marking ceremony to receive credit towards the grave marking medal when the Nominee Role is identified as “Funding.” Documentation from the chapter president conducting grave marking that the Funding was for a specific ceremony must be included with the Grave Marking Medal application.

  • At the state level, the Virginia SAR Revolutionary War Graves Committee supports a multi-faceted Revolutionary War Graves Program and Registration Program to coordinate activities across the Commonwealth in honoring our patriots. 
  • At the regional and local level, the following four Microsoft Excel spreadsheets contain data related to Patriots who either were born, lived or died in Fairfax County, VA or served in a Fairfax County, VA units during the American Revolutionary War. This data is provided by David Whitman, Fairfax Genealogical Society.
  • All of this data has been consolidated into one file and uploaded to as Fairfax Co, VA - Rev War Patriots - VASSAR - GW Chapter.  The tree is open for public searching. Visitors can be "Invited" as Contributors if you would like to participate with the Chapter's ongoing research.
  • For information about the Rev War Patriot Ancestry tree or GW Chapter Grave Marking activities, contact David Harrity.

SAMPLE TEMPLATES for use by any SAR member who wishes to produce a memorial marker to designate a Patriot’s grave: Grave Marker Templates

Sons of the American Revolution
Virginia SAR
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