An announcement from Martin Boyer, President of SAR Society in France:
To commemorate the United States’ entry into World War I, the famous Patrouille de France has been invited to tour America from March to May 2017 to perform in a number of exceptional air shows and flybys in the U.S.
[Click on the image above of] the official announcement from the top ranking French Air Force Chief of staff, General Lanata, [to view] the detailed programme, printed into English, as relayed by Colonel C. Proffit.
Kindly allow me to underline the importance of these events for giving more light in the U.S. to our over 2-centuries alliance. May I request that you would consider stressing the importance of promoting these inspiring and rare events, by SAR state societies' officers and encourage all the NSSAR members to attend whenever possible, especially in those states where the French Air Patrol will perform.
With my very best personal wishes,
SAR Society in France
Wreaths Across America (WAA) was celebrated on December 17th this past year with the purpose of honoring veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The practice of laying wreaths on the graves of veterans began in 1992 by Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine. That year he found he had an excess of wreaths, and remembering his trip to Arlington Cemetery as a 12 year old boy, he worked with Maine Senator Olympia Snowe and had the wreaths placed on graves in Arlington Cemetery. The practice continued quietly until 2005 when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. From there, the event gained considerably popularity. In 2008 over 300 locations held wreath-laying ceremonies in every state, as well as Puerto Rico and 24 cemeteries overseas. In 2014 all of the graves at Arlington were covered (226,525). In 2016 over 1.3 million wreaths were placed on veterans graves at noon EST across the globe.
This year again members of our MISSAR Color Guard participated in the event at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly and the Grand Rapids Veterans Home, as well as the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. Commander Gerald Burkland, President Ron Wilson and Compatriot Jerry Conger were at Holly Cemetery and Vice Commander Ken Goodson and Compatriot Mark Johnston represented the Guard at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home. MISSAR 1st Vice President Paul Callanan represented our organization at Fort Custer Cemetery.
Every three years the Great Lakes SAR states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan send representatives to meet and discuss issues, and vote on members for National positions. On Friday and Saturday, October 28-29, 2016 the GLD meeting was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, hosted by the Michigan Society and coordinated by Vice President General William Vette of Michigan.
The event began with a tribute to President Gerald R. Ford by a combined Color Guard of 21 members representing all three states, and lead by President General Michael Tomme Sr. Remarks were made at the Ford Museum entrance by VPG Vette and PG Tomme, along with Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, as well as a representative from Congressman Justin Amash’s office and the State Regent for the DAR, Diane Schrift.
Following the tributes, the Color Guard lead the procession to the gravesite of President Ford and supervised the laying of wreaths by the dignitaries present. The Color Guard offered the Sword Salute lead by Color Guard Commander Gerald Burkland. The sword salute is a tribute to a warrior, and the Guard remove their hats, bow, and lay their swords to one side in tribute to the family and the warrior.
That evening a banquet was held with special guest speaker, Representative Gary Peters. Compatriot Peters gave an account of his ancestors and was given the Gold Good Citizenship award by VPG Vette and State President MISSAR Rod Wilson. Saturday continued with the business of the GLD in a meeting lead by VPG Vette. Candidates spoke and lobbied for consideration to National positions, and votes were cast approving representatives for the group. Questions were taken from the floor and general business issues were addressed by the President General and other leaders in attendence.
Images above are from the 2016 Great Lakes District Meeting. See more information about the images and the conference in the slide show.
In addition to the above (click to open slideshow), four Michigan Society compatriots also took home Liberty Medals (for sponsoring at least ten new members during the past year): Joseph Conger, Thomas Fountain, Michael Huey, and Robert Wagel. The Michigan Society received these Awards with Streamers: the Officers Attendance Award (the state society whose President and National Trustee attended both preceding Trustees meetings and the last Annual Congress), the George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest (submitting a candidate in the national contest), and the Arthur M. King Eagle Scout Scholarship Contest (submitting a candidate in the national contest).
Message from MISSAR President Rod Wilson: "Thank you to everyone who worked hard this past year to make it a success. Thank you to Michael Huey for working on the genealogy of so many new applicants. Much of this recognition would not have been possible if not for 1st VP Paul Callanan and his experience in award submission." President Wilson also exhorts our troops to make next year "even better!"
The Huron Valley and West Michigan chapters were prominently featured in the latest SAR Magazine (p. 35). Huron Valley celebrated the service of Revolutionary War soldiers Benjamin Woodruff and Josiah Cutler at Ann Arbor's famed Forest Hill Cemetery, and West Michigan celebrated Janice Yates of East Grand Rapids High School for being selected as this year's American History Teacher Award winner. (Click any image to activate slideshow.) For a nice online article of the Huron Valley dedication event, with many more additional photos and detail, please visit here.
MISSAR Compatriots (r-l) James Perkins, Jason Gideon and Ken Goodson representing our organization at the July 4th Parade in Ada, Michigan.
MISSAR Color Guard honors those who served at the Traverse City War Memorial on October 9, 2015. (Click the image to activate slideshow.)