photo is Dale Corey, Thomas "Chip" Daniel, Bill Schwetke and Doug Schwetke at Hidden Springs Sr Liv Fac
In commemoration of Independence Day 2022, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution read the Declaration of Independence at three senior living facilities. On 1 July, they went to Commonwealth Senior Living Facility in Front Royal where they gave a presentation on the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolutionary War, the lead up to that war prior to reading the Declaration of Independence. The tenants were then told what happened to many of the signers, the trials and tribulations they suffered in the fight for independence. Of the 56 signers, five were captured by the British, twelve had their homes ransacked and burned, two lost their sons serving in the army and another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the War. Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, and nine were farmers.
Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships taken by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay debts. He died in rags. Thomas McKean was forced to continually move his family. He served in the Congress without pay and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, and Middleton. Thomas Nelson, Jr.'s home in Yorktown was taken by British General Cornwallis for his headquarters. Nelson urged General Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The British jailed his wife and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. He died a few weeks later from exhaustion. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Unwavering, they pledged in the last line of the document "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."
Participating at Commonwealth were Dale Corey, Thomas "Chip" Daniel and dual member Bill Schwetke from the Culpeper Minutemen Chapter. Each told what Independence Day meant to them. On 5 July, it was to Hidden Springs Senior Living Facility in Bentonville where Dale Corey, Chip Daniel and Bill Schwetke were joined by Doug Schwetke, dual member from the Culpeper Minutemen to again relate the events that led to the battle with Great Britain. On 6 July at Westminster Canterbury in Winchester, Dale Corey and Chip Daniel spoke about the causes of the American Revolution and the grievances against King George prior to reading of the document.