04 Jul 2020 Culpeper, VA
The Town of Culpeper cancelled all of their planned Independence Day activities for pandemic considerations, but insisted on keeping the SAR Ceremony and the traditional Fireworks Display.
The Culpeper Minutemen Chapter hosted the Celebration of our Declaration of Independence on the Courthouse Lawn with a crowd of over 100 looking on. Distinguished participants in the ceremony were Benjamin Franklin (portrayed by our friend Barry Stevens), Culpeper Mayor Michael Olinger, District 30 Delegate Nick Freitas, and Virginia SAR President Bill Schwetke. Four Virginia SAR Chapters participated: the Culpeper Minutemen, Colonel James Wood II, Colonel William Grayson and the Fairfax Resolves. The Culpeper Minute Men Chapter DAR also participated in the ceremony and the Fauquier Court House Chapter DAR provided support. CMM President Charles Jameson was the Master of Ceremonies, Virginia SAR President Bill Schwetke brought greetings from the Virginia Society, Tom Hamill read the Declaration of Independence, and CMM Chaplain Len Cowherd provided the invocation and benediction. Virginia SAR Color Guard Commander Ken Bonner led the Color Guard in posting the colors and firing a three-volley salute.
The program opened promptly at 1:00pm with a Fly-By of four WWII aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force. Further highlights of the program included our remembering "Forgotten Patriots" with bios read in tribute to African-American and Native American Patriots; Remarks on the Declaration by Ben Franklin (portrayed by Barry Stevens); and a passionate reading of the Declaration of Independence by Tom Hamill.
During the celebration Culpeper Mayor Michael T. Olinger presented the Town of Culpeper's Leadership Award to our late compatriot Lon Lacey. Lon's family was present to receive the award.
Briefly removing masks for the picture, the SAR Participants included, kneeling left to right: Andrew A. Mills, Eric Robinson, Sean Carrigan, Virginia SAR Color Guard Commander Ken Bonner. Standing, left to right" Marc Robinson, Mike Weyler, Dale COrey, Ben Franklin (portrayed by Barry Stevens), Michael Dennis, CMM President Charles Jameson, Virginia SAR President Bill Schwetke, Andrew L. Mills, Tom Hamill.