11 Sep 2019 Culpeper, VA
In 2001 our country suffered a terrible attack that took thousands of lives, and thoroughly destroyed our sense of peace. But it also brought us together; it reminded us of the values we share and how much our individual fates are united. In this way it was not unlike our terrible War Between the States. In the aftermath of each we came together and sought out what united us and diminished that which divided us. The Sons of the American Revolution was born as part of reminding us of our common ideals after that earlier tragedy.
Both tragedies struck not far from a small city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Culpeper, Virginia. The 19th Century war swirled around it and the 21st century terror struck only a few miles away at the Pentagon. It’s citizens died in both. Culpeper has strong memories of both tragedies, and a strong spirit of what keeps Americans united. This spirit was aroused, as the years passed, by seeing division creep back into our country, and by 2008 it found a new expression for the memories that bring us together. Gerry Schuck, then Virginia State Director of Bugles Across America, decided that we must remind ourselves of these shared ideals. Gerry began to organize a ceremony to remember 9/11 in Culpeper.
That first year, Gerry’s sole support was the Culpeper Minutemen Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Culpeper Minutemen Chapter gathered around Gerry in front of the Culpeper Volunteer Fire Department at 08:46 on the morning of September 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary to the minute that the first plane struck the North Tower. Salutes were rendered as Gerry played taps in memory of the brave fire fighters who gave their lives to save others on that day. At 09:03, the time that the second plane hit the South Tower, the same group gathered in front of the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office and repeated the ceremony in honor of the law enforcement officers who had given their lives. At 09:37, the time that the third plane hit the Pentagon, the ceremony was repeated at Culpeper National Cemetery, in honor of those killed in that attack. Then at 10:03, the time that the last plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, the ceremony was repeated at the intersection of Main and Davis Streets, where the police had stopped traffic.
Over the years the ceremony has grown, and the Pentagon ceremony has shifted to the new Military Memorial in Wine Street Park. This year Gerry and Bugles Across America were joined by, not only the Culpeper Minutemen Chapter, but the Virginia SAR President, Peter Davenport, and color guardsmen from the Colonel James Wood II, Colonel William Grayson, Fairfax Resolves, and George Mason Chapters; and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Culpeper Volunteer Fire Department, the Culpeper Police Department, and the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office, with their members and their color guards. Beginning in 2013 a second taps was added at Main and Davis to honor the heroes of Benghazi on September 11th 2012 as well as the playing of America the Beautiful and Amazing Grace.
Through the years many other Virginia Society Chapters have contributed members for the Color Guard in this ceremony. In 2018 the National Society Color Guard Commander recognized this as a “Massing of the Colors” National Event. On this day our community comes together to forget our differences, unite around our shared ideals, and remember those modern patriots who lost their lives that we may live free. It is a goal of the Sons of the American Revolution that this spirit be shared and never fade.