On July 4th 2020 the George Washington Chapter conducted their 59th annual wreath laying at George Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon in a very innovative manner -- partly live and partly recorded, for a two-part virtual commemoration.
Earlier in the morning a select group of 10 SAR and DAR members conducted a live wreath laying ceremony at the tomb that was recorded for later viewing. The participants in the activity were: Chapter Vice-President Tom Roth, who served as Master of Ceremonies; VASSAR President Bill Schwetke, who presented greetings from SAR; Chapter co-Historian Jack Coulter, who served as co-wreath bearer to the tomb, along with Bill Schwetke; Chapter Treasurer Richard Rankin and Chapter Compatriot Don Francisco (also fifer-in-residence at Mount Vernon), who jointly presented red carnations to George Washington’s tomb; DAR representatives Dr. Sharla Rausch and Catherine Schwetke, who jointly presented pink carnations to Martha Washington’s tomb; Chapter Secretary Rand Pixa, who served as videographer for the ceremony; and Ken Bonner and Jason Northam who served as the VASSAR Color Guard. In addition, we were honored to have the presence of Mount Vernon CEO Doug Bradburn who spoke on the patriotic significance of the event.
Later that morning the George Washington Chapter hosted a virtual commemoration of the wreath laying by Zoom, with nearly 100 SAR, DAR and CAR members participating. The event included the normal SAR meeting protocols, with the additional remote playing of patriotic music by two musicians from the Frederick Town Fife and Drum Corps. As a bonus, the winner of the Rumbaugh Oration Contest Lauren Bradshaw presented a video recording of her stirring oration from the VASSAR Congress. The commemoration included the virtual presentation of additional wreaths from eight other SAR chapters, 26 DAR districts and chapters, and nine CAR societies.
Just before the SAR recessional, the video replay of the tomb ceremony was shown to the attendees at the Zoom meeting (see video below).
Submitted by Jack Coulter.