STATE OF THE ORDER
National Officers and Brothers at the One Hundred Twenty First National Encampment of the Sons of Veterans of the Civil War. We have come to the end of a very interesting year in the life of our Country and our Order. In the past 12 months our country has been the victim of the cowardly attacks of September 11, 2001 that took the lives of more than 3,000 innocent men, women and children, three Past Commanders-in-Chief answered their last roll call and a Federal Judge has determined that we are not "One nation under God."
The attacks of September 11 and the action of the judge in California both point to the need for our Order to step forward and use the increase in patriotic fervor to educate all Americans on what it means to be an American, the rights and duties of citizenship and what we as a nation owe not just to our ancestors but to all veterans who were and are willing to step forward in times of crisis to fight and die for, as Lincoln said, the best form of government in the world.
Over the past few years we have made some significant steps forward to bring our Order into the 21st century. These steps were not without cost, in money, time and effort, but they are necessary to our continued growth. The development of our award winning web site, the establishment of a National Headquarters in Harrisburg, PA and the hiring of an Executive Director have gone a long way in preparing us for the future. This past year we established an account with AOL which, for the first time gives us a standard set of internet ID's that provides Email addresses that do not have to be changed every time we elect new officers. This also saves us money in that we can print an Email address on our literature that will see that requests get sent to the correct officer regardless of when it was printed. We also formed the Sons Of Union Veterans Web Ring which is an Internet shortcut between SUVCW Department and Camp Websites.
For the first time in five years four issues of the Banner were published. The Banner is a quality product that all the membership can be justly proud. The improvement in the quality and frequency of the Banner has a corresponding cost. This year the cost of producing the Banner has doubled to $30,000 or nearly $6.00 per member. Although for the first time we now have paid advertising in the Banner the advertising revenue has not yet begun to reach the level needed to offset the increase in cost. Until this happens we need to find a solid method to fund the Banner as well as continue to support the other needed projects of our Order.
In the past year I have had the pleasure to sign the charters for 11 new Camps and install the Officers of a new Department, the Department of Oklahoma who will receive their charter at this encampment. In spite of the efforts of many, many brothers to recruit new members our membership grows just fast enough to offset the number of brothers who leave our Order. We all need to work just as hard if not harder to retain our existing members. When a new brother joins we need to get him involved in the activities of the Camp. Find out what his interests are, why did he join? The way to keep a brother is to get him involved.
In my travels this past year I have met many brothers whose enthusiasm for our Order is outstanding and I wanted to recognize their efforts, most especially the Brothers in the Department of California and the Pacific, the Department of Iowa and the Department of Oklahoma.
I want to recognize the efforts of Brother Keith Harrison. A recipient of the Most Outstanding Brother at last years Encampment, Brother Keith has served since 1998 as our National Webmaster and developed it into an outstanding tool for our Order. His list of titles at the end of his Email is responsible for killing more trees than any 2 members of our Order. Brother Harrison has announced his intention to step down as our Webmaster. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Keith for his service.
When we joined we all took on a solemn obligation to preserve the memory of the deeds of our ancestors, the Boys in Blue. We should be doing this, not for any personal recognition or glory, but to honor those who have gone before us. Leave your ego at the door when you enter the meeting room. No one person has all the answers. It is only by working together that we can meet the expectations of the G.A.R. who gave us the title of which we should be most proud, "Heir to the Grand Army of the Republic."
We need to be cooperating, not just with the brothers in our Order but especially with the other Allied Orders. The Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans, the Daughters of Union Veterans, the Ladies of the Grand Army and the Womans Relief Corp have just as strong a connection to the G.A.R. as we do. They are not second class members of the Allied Orders. I'm not saying that you have to like every member of the Allied Orders. The Bible says that we should love our neighbor, it doesn't say anything about liking them. I have met members of the ladies organizations that will never be on my Christmas card list, but we MUST work together for the betterment of our organizations.
There is much that the Commander-in-Chief and the Council of Administration can and should be working on but a lot of valuable time and resources are spent refereeing personality differences at all levels of our Organization. Many of these problems could be resolved without the intervention of the National Officers if the brothers involved had just read the Constitution and Regulations before they act. If you have a question on something please first consult the C&R and then if you still have a question contact your Department Officers and, if needed, contact the National Officers. It is always much easier to resolve problems before starting a project than it is to have to undo work already started or in some cases, completed. 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 Council really would like to have happen.
1. That the Constitution and Regulations Committee draft the appropriate changes to the C&R to allow for the National Collection of Dues. They are to report to the Council of Administration at its March 2003 meeting and publicize the changes in the Banner in sufficient time for approval at next years National Encampment.
2. That the Program and Policy Committee develop a plan for the implementation of a National collection of dues, including the acceptance of Credit and /or Debit cards. The committee is to report back to the 2003 National Encampment.
3. That a Special Committee be appointed to develop a "National Gift Shop" on our website for the sale of non-restricted items. The committee to report to the March meeting of the Council of Administration for approval and implementation.
4. That beginning in January 2003 and every year thereafter the National Secretary prepare a CD that contains up to date copies of all the forms of our Order along with a set of instructions for completing each form and that a copy of this CD be sent to each Department and Camp for their use. The cost of producing these CD's to be covered by a yearly Rechartering Fee to be charged each Camp and Department. The fee to be set by the Council of Administration each year.
5. The Seal of the Commandery-in-Chief is in need of repair and restoration. That the Seal be repaired and sent to the National Headquarters for display between encampments.
6. That the current flag stands be retired to the National Headquarters for use there and that new, lighter stands be purchased.
7. That 2 Baldricks be purchased and kept with the Commander-in-Chief's colors.
8. There is nothing in the Constitution and Regulations regarding the naming and membership of Camp and Department Guards. Some Camps and Departments have selected a reenactment group to be the official "Guard." I have issued General Order 15 requiring that all members of a camp or department Guard must be brothers of that camp or department. There has been some confusion with these camp and department guards using the name of the reenactment unit as the name of the camp and department guard. An additional problem is that each group has different membership requirements. What you end up with is two groups using the same name and one requires the all members be in the SUVCW for the Camp Guard and a separate group that allows anyone to join the reenactment group. It is my recommendation that the name of any Camp or Department Guard must be "the name of the Camp or Department" Guard. For example, "Abraham Lincoln Camp #1 Guard."
Again, I want to thank you for the confidence you placed in me last year. I hope that I have met your expectations and that I have given you no reason to regret your decision.
God bless the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and God bless the United States of America.
Respectfully Submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty,
George L. Powell
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Rulings of the Commander-in-Chief 2001 - 2002
Ruling 1. Several years ago the Department Commander of the Department of Rhode Island applied for and was granted an Honorary Membership for the Adjutant General of the State National Guard, Major General N. Andre Trudeau. General Trudeau is no longer the Adjutant General and the old Department Officers stated that the Honorary Membership was for the position of the Adjutant General and that his replacement now had the Honorary membership. After reviewing the available information I issued the following ruling:
Ruling 2. I was informed that at least one camp was attempting to create its own Life Membership program. Based upon the following opinion of the National Counselor it was my ruling as Commander-in-Chief that this cannot be done. Any money collected for this purpose is to be immediately refunded and all such activity is to cease.
Ruling 3. It was brought to my attention that at least one Camp has formed a Camp Guard that allowed non-members of the SUVCW to be members of the Camp Guard. This can not happen. Accordingly it was my ruling that membership in a Camp or Department Guard is limited to Brothers of that Camp or Department and that any Camp or Department Guard that includes members who are not Brothers of the Camp or Department must immediately correct this situation by either having all non-members become Members or Associates of our Order or to drop all non-members from the ranks of the Camp Guard. This is holding the camp and department Guards to the same requirement as the individual members of the SVR.
1. Lt. Adam Slemmer Camp #6, 27 January, 2002, Department of Florida
2.Greenwood Camp, 30 January 2002, Department of Colorado and Wyoming
3. Maj. Robert Anderson Camp #139, 4 February 2002, Department of Michigan
4. General George G. Meade Camp #5, 9 February 2002, Department of Maryland
5. Admiral John L. Worden Camp #150, 19 February 2002, Department of New York
6. Sgt. Frederick R. Jackson Camp #7, 14 February 2002, Department of Florida
7. Abraham Lincoln Post #1 Camp #1863, 15 April 2002, Department of Maryland
8. Captain John White Spencer Camp #9, 15 April 2002, Department of Maryland
9. Maj. Francis Wilhelms Camp #17, 5 June 2002, Department of Missouri
10. Col. John B. Weber Camp #44, 5 June 2002, Department of New York
11. Gen. John Buford Camp #4389, 5 June 2002, Department of New York
Commander-in-Chief Itinerary 2001-2002
August 9-12: National Encampment, Springfield, Missouri
September 15: Testimonial for Commander-in-Chief
September 22: Testimonial for Pa Dept. Commander
October 13: Marker Dedication for Gen. Thomas Ransom, Rome GA
October 20: Testimonial for National President of the Auxiliary and PA Dept. President
November 11: Monument Dedication for Sultana Victims, McConnellsville, OH
November 17: Remembrance Day, Gettysburg, PA
November 18: Council of Administration Meeting, Gettysburg, PA
February 2: Department Mid Year Meeting - Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI
February 12: Lincoln's Birthday, Washington, DC
March 9: Council of Administration Meeting, Harrisburg, PA
March 9: Annual Dinner for the G.A.R. Civil War Museum and Library, Phila., PA
March 16: Department Encampment - California & Pacific - San Louis Obispo, CA
April 6: Department Encampment - Rhode Island - Providence, RI
April 13: Department Encampment - Iowa - Waterloo, IA
April 15: Lincoln's Death Day Ceremony, Springfield, IL
April 20: Department Encampment - Michigan - Lansing
April 28: Grant's Tomb Ceremony - New York City
May 4: Install New Department - Oklahoma - Tulsa, OK
May 11: Soldiers & Sailors Monument Rededication - Indianapolis, IN
May 25: Memorial Day Ceremony - Joel Searfoss Camp #273, Bangor, PA
May 25: Memorial Day Ceremony - Anna M Ross Auxiliary #1, Phila., PA
May 26: Memorial Day Ceremony - Gettysburg Camp #112, Gettysburg, PA
May 30: Memorial Day Ceremony - Lincoln-Cushing Camp #1, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC
June 8: Department Encampment - New York - Ithaca, NY
June 15: Department Encampment - Ohio - Alliance, OH
June 21: Department Encampment - Missouri - St. Louis, MO
June 28: Department Encampment - Pennsylvania - West Chester, PA
August 1: National Convention - Sons of Confederate Veterans - Memphis, TN
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