PG Bruce Pickette VA Society, 1st Vice President, Ernie Coggins
President General C. Bruce Pickette laid a wreath on behalf of the SAR at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on September 10. 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 Nov. 11, 1921.
The Tomb is guarded 24/7 by soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard”. The Old Guard is the oldest active infantry unit in the military. In addition to protecting this sacred site, the soldiers of the Old Guard maintain reverence and silence.
On a warm, sunny day in front of a large crowd and compatriots, PG Pickette was escorted by soldiers from The Old Guard and accompanied by Virginia Society 1st Vice President, Ernie Coggins; George Washington Chapter President Richard Rankin; and Virginia Color Guard Vice Commander for the Northern Region, Brett Osborn. The Virginia Color Guard provided a guard of honor for the participants along the stairs leading to the tomb.
While waiting for the ceremony to begin, PG Pickette took time to shake the hands of Honor Flight veterans from Wisconsin and to thank them for their service to the nation. It was a very special day for all of those who witness this revered wreath laying. The George Washington Chapter of the Virginia SAR is honored to host this iconic ceremony for the President General each year.
PG Bruce Pickette VA Society, 1st Vice President, Ernie Coggins
Second Row (L-R) George Washington Chapter President, Richard Rankin
VA Color Guard Vice Commander, Brett Osborn
SAR Officers Present (L-R) Richard Rankin (President GW Chapter), Dave Thomas (VASSAR Asst. Registrar, Past President GW Chapter), Mike Weyler (VASSAR 3rd VP, Past President Col. Wm. Grayson Chapter), Ernie Coggins (VASSAR 1st VP, Past President GW Chapter), President General Bruce Pickette, Mike Elston (Chancellor General, Past President VASSAR and GW Chapter), Don Reynolds (Past President VASSAR and GW Chapter), Tom Roth (VASSAR Historian, Past President GW Chapter)
VASSAR Color Guard with the President General: Ken Bonner (President Sgt. Major John Champe Chapter, Past Commander VASSAR Color Guard), Mike Weyler (VASSAR 3rd VP, Past President Col. Wm. Grayson Chapter), President General Pickette, Brett Osborn (VASSAR Vice-Color Guard Commander, Col. James Wood, II Chapter), Paul Christensen (Col. James Wood II Chapter) Richard Tyler (Col. James Wood II Chapter)
23 September 2022, 165 Purcellville Gateway Drive, Purcellville, VA
Today, Scott Payne, USMC (Retired), owner of the Chick-Fil-A Franchise in Purcellville, accepted two flag certificates from the Sgt Maj John Champe Chapter, Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). The first certificate was for exemplary Patriotism in the Display of the Flag of the United States of America. To be awarded the certificate a business or homeowner must light the flag at night and retire the flag when it becomes soiled, torn or otherwise unserviceable. The second certificate was to recognize service to the community for the proper retirement of an unserviceable United States Flag. On 14 June 2022 (Flag Day), the Purcellville Chick-Fil-A presented an unserviceable flag to a representative of the Sgt Maj John Champe Chapter Virginia SAR. Later that same day the Chapter delivered the flag to a Flag retirement ceremony conducted by the Reverend John Marks Society Children of the American Revolution where the flag was retired with dignity and honor.
“Purcellville Chick-Fit-A with flagpole” shows the restaurant with flag pole on the left.
of owner Scott Payne accepting the certificates from Barry Schwoerer, Vice President Sgt Maj John Champe Chapter Virginia SAR.
On 19 September members of the Fairfax Resolves Chapter celebrated Constitution Day by presenting a program on the constitution to students at White Oaks, Bull Run and Greenbrier Elementary Schools. Most of the students were from the school’s fourth grade classes but some fifth and sixth grade students also attended.
The program began with a discussion of the constitution itself and how it created the three branches of the government and rules for the conduct of that government. The program then evolved to a discussion of some of the states that ratified the constitution.
A discussion of some of the founding fathers followed. The students seemed most interested and indeed animated at the mention of Alexander Hamilton’s name. The program ended with a discussion of the Bill of Rights and some of the more important amendments. The latter included a discussion of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote.
The response from the teachers and students was very positive. A recording of the presentation held at Bull Run Elementary School is available on the VASSAR YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/yMRW03Xha2o
Figure 1 Larry McKinley discusses Alexander Hamilton while Jeff Thomas holds his image
Figure 2 Dave Cook discussed the state of Delaware, the first state to ratify the constitution, while Larry McKinley and Forrest Crain hold the state's flag
11 Sep 2022 Culpeper, VA
Today, as the rain came down, the community of Culpeper, supported by four Virginia SAR Chapters, came together to remember and honor those who lost their lives on the 9th of September 2001. In addition to the eleven SAR Color Guardsmen, participants included the VFW, American Legion, Bugles Across America, Heritage Girls, Culpeper Volunteer Fire Department, Culpeper Police Department, Salem Volunteer Fire and Rescue, and the Culpeper Sheriff's Office. The eleven Virginia SAR participants were from the Culpeper Minutemen, Colonel James Wood II, Fairfax Resolves, and Sergeant Major John Champe Chapters. Altogether 76 people actively participated in the ceremonies and over 50 spectators attended, all in a pouring rain.
On 27 August, the Williamsburg Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, present NSSAR Flag Retirement Certificates to Boy Scout Troop 103 and VFW Post 8046 and its Auxiliary. The presentation was done in conjunction with a flag retirement ceremony by Troop 103 at the Upper County Park, Toano, VA.
Pictured L to R, are Dave Coppinger, Assistance Scoutmaster, Peggy Bormann, Auxiliary President, Ron Stottlemyer, Post Commander and George Corbett, chapter Flag Recognition Committee Chair. Photo by Karen Corbett.
On 29 July 2022, the Williamsburg Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, attended the dedication ceremony of a Memorial Garden by the George Wythe Society, Children of the American Revolution. The memorial is located on the grounds of Eastern State Hospital.
Pictured (L to R) are Bruce Laubach, President of the Williamsburg Chapter SAR, Tatton Mason, William Mason, President of the George Wythe Society, George Corbett, Ronald Adolphi and Michael Elston, NSSAR Chancellor General. (Phot by Karen Corbett
Combined French and SAR participants
Left side of Wreath presenters
Right side of wreath presenters
It may not be unusual for a SAR event to draw 150 attendees; however, it is unique when more than half of the attendees are French. Such was the case at the 241 Anniversary of the Battle of the Virginia Capes Commemoration held on Saturday, September 3, 2022 aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story in Virginia Beach. The event hosted by the Norfolk Chapter honored the French naval forces under command of Admiral Francois Joseph Paul, Comte de Grasse, that defeated the British Royal Navy.
The base, located on Cape Henry, the first landing site of Virginia’s 1607 settlers, hosts a small National Park honoring both the first landing of the Jamestown settlers on Virginia soil and Admiral de Grasse’s victory.
There were no Americans involved in this decisive sea battle fought on September 5, 1781. The French victory prevented the British navy from supplying or supporting Lord Charles Cornwallis who was preparing his defenses at Yorktown, where he ultimately surrendered on October 19, 1781. It was one of the most strategically important naval battles in the history of the world. Appropriately, Rear Admiral Hilaire Ducellier represented the French Navy while Colonel Aymeric de Maleissye, serving as the French National Liaison Representative to Allied Command Transformation, represented the French Military.
Other distinguished guests included NSSAR Chancellor General Mike Elston and VSSAR President Bruce Meyer as well as past presidents Pat Kelly and Bill Schwetke. Also included were Will Elston, President and Anne Cabrié Forsythe, Senior President, V.S.C.A.R., and Mike Lyman, past president of both the Virginia Society Order of Founders and Patriots of America and the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia.
The VASSAR Color Guard commanded by Norfolk Chapter member, CDR Kimball Thompson USN (Ret.), and included French flag bearer, Premier-maitre (SCPO) Aline Oger, French Navy, Presented the Colors. Both the French and United States National Anthems were played. VASSAR Color Guard Commander, CAPT Christopher Melhuish USN (Ret.), was speaker and gave an impeccably delivered narrative of the sea battle. There were twenty-seven wreaths presented by various chapters of the SAR, DAR, C.A.R., and other patriotic organizations. To honor the French who made this a very special event, NSSAR Chancellor General Mike Elston presented Rear Admiral Hilaire Ducellier with the SAR International Medal.
Concluding the ceremony Admiral Hilaire Ducellier and Colonel Aymeric de Maleissye hosted an open air social complete with French beverages where many greetings were exchanged on this bright sunny Virginia day.
Guest speaker C. A. Melhuish, Capt, USN (Ret) Rear Adm. Ducellier giving remarks
in front of statue of Adm de Grasse
VASSAR President Bruce Meyer Michael J. Elston presenting Rear Adm Ducellier Society plaque
THE COLONEL JAMES WOOD II CHAPTER PARTICIPATED IN A VETERANS TRIBUTE HELD AT THE SHENANDOAH COUNTY FAIR, WOODSTOCK, VIRGINIA
Photo is of the CJWII participants, l. to r. Sean Carrigan, Brett Osborn, Dale Corey, Patrick Moore, Erick Moore and Georgeann Moore. (Photo courtesy of Dale Corey.)
On 1 September 2022, The Colonel James Wood II Chapter participated in a Veterans Tribute held at the Shenandoah County Fair, Woodstock, Virginia. The events were there to honor every veteran who served the country. It was emcees by Ronnie Zerkel, Chapter President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 936 and supported by high school bands from Shenandoah County. A procession of colors included Colonel James Wood II compatriot Art LaFlam carrying the American Flag, followed by the Korean War Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 936, American Legion Post 199, Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office, Massanutten Military Academy and the Colonel James Wood II Chapter. After the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, the procession marched off the field. This was followed with salute to each service with the service song and recognition of participants. Guest speakers included Ben Cline, Congressman; Kenneth Allenworth, Director VA Medical Center Martinsburg, WV and Timothy Carter, Sheriff Shenandoah County. Participating for the CJWII Chapter were Sean Carrigan, Dale Corey, Erick Moore, Patrick Moore and Brett Osborn. Georgeann Moore joined as a camp follower.