STATE OF THE ORDER
National Officers, Delegates and Brothers to the One Hundred Twentieth National Encampment of the Sons of Veterans of the Civil War. It has been my honor to serve you as Commander-in-Chief and to present my year-end report.
The Order is financially sound and continues to grow. For the most part our members all over the Nation are tirelessly performing the duties of citizenship and the work of the Order.
Two short months after the One Hundred Nineteenth National Encampment in Lansing, Michigan the then newly contracted Executive Director decided to resign the position. The Council of Administration immediately set out to locate another individual to fill that position. At the November Remembrance Day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania we had an interview with another member living in very close proximity to the then future National Headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. What we heard was encouraging and we entered into another contract for an Executive Director. It became apparent in the next several months that we may have made a mistake, which as it turned out was an understatement. The then Executive Director, Tim Schaible also disappeared and would not turn over the property of the Order.
Now, the good news out of all of it. I can now tell you that through the diligence and hard work of Brother Lee Walters of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania a package is on it's way to this Encampment via Federal Express Next Day Delivery which should contain most if not all of the missing reports and checks.
Last April in Chattanooga, Tennessee human remains were laid to rest that were found on Missionary Ridge. All that is known is that this person was a soldier of either the North or the South during the conflict that took place there. Both the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Sons of Confederate Veterans were represented as well as reenactors from both sides. All anyone knew, and all that mattered was that we were lying to rest an American Warrior who gave the last full measure. Both flags draped his coffin and both sides paid him full military honors at his grave. Confederate Battle Flags and Confederate Nationals flew with the Flags of the Unites States of America that day. That was a day I will remember and pass on as long as I live. This experience is owed to the hard work accomplished by Brother Frank Harned, PDC and the Camp in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In joining our organization we take on a solemn responsibility. Those of us that served in the military call this type of responsibility DUTY. We have a duty to continue to preserve and perpetuate the memory of our Fathers who saw their duty and performed their duty to the best of their ability. We, as their heirs can do no less.
We have that duty to preserve and perpetuate the true history of our Fathers. For in that truth is the true honor they deserve. We all know that history books are being presented to school children that say the Civil War started because a guy by the name of John Brown was hung at Harpers Ferry, Virginia; then the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia and nothing much happened in between. Then from these two events sprang all the social, economic, political and legislative events that followed. You and I know there was much more to it than that. Our duty is to see that what we know is not forgotten.
Not all of America has put a high priority on checking out our history. Most would just as soon believe whatever they are told, happened, or even more so they believe what they see in the movies or on television and leave it at that. Cases in point are at Civil War Re-enactments. The general public asks such questions as, Did you really fight in the Civil War? or Why were all the big battles fought in National Parks? I have personally seen several times these questions come from otherwise well educated individuals. They are extremely lacking in the area of American History. All of America needs to know the truth of our Nation's past. The good, the bad, the humorous, the serious, the beautiful, the ugly, the white, the black, the brown, the red, the yellow, et all. Our duty to our ancestors is to educate our successors.
Abraham Lincoln said, America is the last and best hope of mankind. He said this because as a Nation, we are the most ethnically diverse peoples on the planet and yet in adversity we set aside differences and work together to overcome adversities and move toward common goals. We have proven this over and over again. After all, we are all Americans.
As we enter the 21st Century and the dawn of the third millennium we find ourselves in as adverse a situation as we could possibly get. For if we do not pull together to change this situation, our heritage, along with that of our Confederate cousins will become one last and great tragedy of that war. If we succeed, we truly honor our ancestor's memories by fulfilling our duty.
Every department and camp that I visited asks, What is happening with Life membership? They have all voiced their opinion that Life Membership be continued and that the Life Membership Fund be invested to keep it alive. I truly believe we can accomplish that.
Brothers, we are still maintaining a problem that has been ongoing for several years. It has continually consumed much of the valuable time of myself as well as those Commander's-in-Chief who have preceded me. There is much important work and many things that the Commander-in-Chief could and would be doing if it were not for the constant and ongoing battles being brought to the attention of the National Organization in an improper fashion. This is not to say that any problem that is happening is not important. It is just that when it is brought before the National Organization for a decision, make absolutely sure that you read and understand the C&R. Camp and Department Officers please do the same so you can make good decisions that cannot be disputed and overthrown. Do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand. And please understand that the Commander-in-Chief and the Council of Administration when called upon to make a ruling will do so in accordance with the C&R and that ruling might not be what either party wanted or what the C. of A. really wanted to happen but had to due to limited options.
2. Reopen the Life Membership program, implementing suggested methods of investment of funds.
3. In place of the traveling plaques and cup that the National Organization awards to camps and departments each year that a battle streamer indicating award and year, be issued for the winning camp or department to keep and display from their flag. This would give the camp or department a means of displaying an achievement by some other means than only in the den or office of the camp or department commander. A nice certificate could also be issued. This would also be a means of retiring the traveling plaques and cup to the National Headquarters, as was attempted at a previous encampment.
God bless the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and God bless the United States of America again.
Edward J. Krieser
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
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