18-19 Sep 2020 South Boston, VA
The 2020 Semi-Annual Meeting of the Virginia Society was held at Berry Hill Plantation on September 18th & 19th hosted by the Dan River and Culpeper Minutemen Chapters. Fifty-four compatriots from nineteen chapters participated, and were joined by twenty wives. Five Virginia C.A.R. dignitaries joined us including this year’s and last year’s Presidents and Senior Presidents. Participants opened the meeting with a grand ceremony starting with thirty compatriots parading historic revolutionary flags behind the Color Guard around the circular drive in front of the Mansion and placing them around the circle where they remained for the duration. The Society President declared the meeting in session which was followed by the discharge of a cannon by Chancellor Monday. After an invocation and pledges the cry was heard to “Follow the Colors” and the participants followed the Color Guard up the front steps of the Mansion, through the doors and down the halls to the Grand Ballroom. The first day was filled with various committee-lead workshops, an Awards Ceremony, Ladies tour of the Mansion, and a back-yard BBQ. The Awards were highlighted with noting the national recognition of Virginia as the best state society (1,000 or more members) with the Allene Wilson Groves Award for 2019, and the recognition of the Colonel James Wood II and Fairfax Resolves Chapters as the best chapters of their size in the entire SAR for 2019 with the Liberty Bell Americanism Award and President General’s Cup. The evening ended with the President’s Reception in the Mansion Library Bar. As soon as glasses were filled, we all gathered on the Portico for a magnificent display of Fireworks to celebrate the anniversaries of Victory at Saratoga and our Constitution. The fireworks started with an intense barrage, similar to the ending of usual fireworks displays, but one that continued for the full ten-minute program.
During both days masks and social distance were enforced along with the use of much hand sanitizer and cleaning crews that prepared meeting rooms and wiped down microphones after each use.
The second day began with breakfast in the Mansion before the General Membership Meeting. The General Membership accomplished a lot, most importantly significant changes to our Constitution and Bylaws as part of an extensive update of our Handbook led by 1st Vice President Jeff Thomas. We had previously, at special meetings in July, amended our Bylaws to permit virtual meetings for all business. We have already held one Board of Managers Meeting on Zoom and are prepared to use that venue when unable to meet physically. The meeting wound up with a Luncheon in the Mansion Ballroom featuring special awards to the Virginia C.A.R. for pioneering virtual meetings with their Annual Meeting in March.
At the end of the Luncheon the Color Guard departed with, once again, the cry to “Follow the Colors” and led us through the Mansion back to the front steps, where an invocation and recessional were followed by Chancellor Monday’s discharge of a cannon at the announcement of adjournment. Everyone briefly held their place as Historian Tom Roth orchestrated the taking of a picture to record this physical meeting.
A special thanks is due to Chancellor Eric Monday who was responsible for the elegant programs, the historic Revolutionary War Flags on the circular drive in front of the Mansion, the fine cigars, and the fireworks. His resourcefulness and effort on our behalf truly made this a memorable Semi-Annual Meeting.
This pandemic may at times divert us to alternative schemes, but it will not stop the Virginia SAR.
Magnificent display of fireworks to celebrate the Anniversaries of Victory at Saratoga and our Constitution.