Our Independence Day weekend started with a jolt when the Lower Cape Fear Chapter held its annual 4th of July picnic in Hugh McRae Park in Wilmington. Certificates of Appreciation were dispersed to community members including YouTube sensation Raymond Greene who regaled us with his rendition of multiple patriotic songs. UNCW professor and compatriot Chris Fonvielle presented a new wrinkle about the Battle of Moore’s Creek. He informed us that the Patriots actually started the skirmish when they burned Fort Johnston (Southport) to the ground in July 1775 within eyesight of the Royal Governor.
On the 4th of July while the Lower Cape Fear Chapter marched four men in the Southport, NC parade, Julie and I headed north to the Congress in Boston, MA. En route, we visited relatives in New York, completed some genealogical research at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, NY and surveyed the Bennington Monument in Vermont. As we arrived in Boston, the traffic was steady but not exceptionally difficult and we arrived at our hotel early enough to sign in and rest awhile. We met SAR compatriots, Dr. Ed Rigel, Sr and wife Joan (GA), Dan Woodruff (SC), Dr. Redding Corbet (SC) and George Strunk at a restaurant, Legal Seafoods, near the hotel. It was a good time catching up and eating great food.
The next day, I took advantage of the multiple tours available and went to visit Concord and Lexington. We were able to stroll the battlefields and see many of the sites that are associated with battles but not necessarily mentioned in the “Shot heard around the world.”
On Saturday night the Congress kicked off with the host reception in the main meeting area. The following Sunday morning, the Color Guard convened for breakfast in preparation for the Memorial Service at the Old South Church which was one block away from the hotel. Twenty-two NC compatriots were recognized for their service to the SAR. That evening the Oratorical Contest finals were presented; it was a huge treat for all who were there. The youth representing Societies across the country presented their own interpretations with outstanding success. The next morning I attended the Council of State President’s Breakfast and prepared for the start of the business meetings of Congress. The Youth Awards luncheon followed the opening session of Congress and we were once again treated with outstanding oral presentations by multiple youth. Our NC brochure contest winner from the Halifax Resolves chapter garnered 3rd place in the nation. In the early evening, I participated in a reception hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society at their headquarters which was about four blocks away from the hotel. I was able to set up an appointment to conduct some more genealogical research during the next morning. Later that evening, we were able to view the induction of six new Minutemen, the highest award in the SAR. Following the induction, the annual SAR awards ceremony was conducted. I was able to stand multiple times when North Carolina was recognized for its efforts. Senior VP George Strunk will present the recognitions during the August Board of Managers.
The following morning we convened at the South Atlantic District breakfast where VPG Ed Rigel, Sr MD turned the gavel over to Dr. Lawrence G. Fehrenbaker, Sr. I presented a report on the North Carolina society that can be viewed on the District web site.
Following breakfast we continued the General Session of Congress and heard presentations from two compatriots who were vying for the position of Treasurer General. I took advantage of my appointment with the NEHGS and found the missing link to my wife’s patriot ancestor. I will submit a supplemental application for our son in the very near future. At lunch the George Washington Fellows met and Compatriot George Strunk was inducted as a Fellow.
Tuesday afternoon I attended meetings of the Council of State Presidents, the Patriot Biographies and Veterans committee. I was voted to participate in the Nominating Committee for General Officers during the Spring Leadership meeting in Louisville. That evening we attended the President General’s banquet where departing PG Tom Lawrence (TX) inspired us with success stories during his term. He particularly liked being able to fire a cannon during his visit to Arizona.
Wednesday included a final session of congress where Compatriot Tim Berly was sworn in as Trustee and I as Alternate Trustee for 2017-2018. That evening, PG J. Michael Tomme (GA) was sworn in as the Society’s leader for 2017-2018. The Old North State was represented by compatriots Sam Powell and his wife Karen, John Thornhill and his wife Jo, George Strunk, Tim Berly, multiple dual members plus Julie and myself.
After Congress, Julie and I continued our New England tour by visiting East Greenwich and Coventry, RI, the birthplace of my Green(e) ancestors. I received a personal tour of the Kentish Guard Armory. My 4th great grandfather was elected a Captain in the Coventry company of the Kentish Guard from 1774-1777. Later I was fortunate enough to be entertained in a private tour of MG Nathanael Greene’s homestead in Coventry. Our return trip included visiting more relatives who happen to live very near Valley Forge which we viewed for the second time. We returned to Wilmington without incident and both concluded we had a successful trip.
While we were making our way south, Compatriot Dan Burleson led another remembrance of the “Fight at Colson’s” in Norwood. Foothills District VP Jay Joyce represented the state leadership during the event and Western Adjutant Jim Tatum commanded the Color Guard.