The recent Veterans Day was celebrated by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation joined with the Williamsburg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) in honoring women in the military. The event was conducted at the Governor’s Palace Revolutionary War Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, November 10, the day before Veterans Day. Women who have served and are actively serving to protect our nation were recognized and honored. Military women who participated in the program included Major General Celia Adolphi (USA, Ret.), Col. Erin Cluff (USAF), LCDR Karen Sankes-Ritland (USN), LTC Robin Phillips (USA, Ret.), and groups of WW II reenactors from the 1st WAC Able Company.
Colors were presented by Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum and the Williamsburg Chapter SAR Color Guard. Rev. Jan Brown of Bruton Parish church in Williamsburg delivered the Invocation. The National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance was led by Harley Stewart, Past President Williamsburg Chapter. An official welcome was given by Katharine Pittman, a Nation Builder of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as “Martha Washington.” Moderator Steve McGuffin of the Williamsburg Chapter introduced special guests.
The keynote address was given by Lt. Cmdr. Karen Sankes-Ritland of the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush. Sankes-Ritland spoke on her 19-year career in the US Navy, her marrying another US Navy officer, and having four children – pursuing a full career and a family thanks to the Navy’s Career Intermission Program started in 2009.
Tom Campbell, a Past President of the Williamsburg Chapter and initiator and organizer of this Veterans Day celebration, spoke on the history of the Revolutionary War Cemetery and announced the procession of unit flags of those buried there. These honored dead had fought in the siege of Yorktown, died of battle wounds and sickness, and were buried in 1781. Ten patriotic organizations then presented wreaths. The wreath of the Virginia Society SAR was presented by President Peter Davenport and the Williamsburg Chapter SAR wreath by President William Greaf.
Ceremonies concluded with a prayer, the singing of ‘God Bless America,’ and the sounding of Taps by LCDR Richard Stoud (USCG,Ret.)
Pictures left to right: Lt. Cmdr. Karen Sankes-Ritland (USN) giving the keynote address. Various participants in the ceremonies with presented wreaths.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart