1. I wish to express my profound appreciation to all members that attended the 115th National Encampment and elected me Commander-in-Chief. I appreciate the great privilege bestowed by this office and humbly accept the challenges it presents.
2. I would like to congratulate William Dennison Camp # 1, Department of Ohio and Past Department Commander Jim Hilton in particular for the outstanding success of the 115th National Encampment held in Columbus, Ohio. They deserve an extra measure of recognition and congratulations from all of us that attended since this was the second National Encampment in a row they hosted. The Department of Ohio should be doubly proud of their enthusiasm and dedication to a job well done.
3. All correspondence to this office should be directed to the above address or e mail. All business correspondence including quarterly reports, address changes, etc. should be processed through Camps and Departments and sent to National Secretary David Wallace. Quarterly reports and per capita from Camps to Departments and from Departments to the National Secretary should be sent on time. Requisitions for supplies are to be sent directly to National Quartermaster Elmer Atkinson, PCinC. Quarterly reports of National Officers and Chairmen of Standing and Special committees will continue to be sent to the Chief of Staff. Addresses, e mail screen names, telephone and fax numbers of brothers elected or appointed to National Offices or Committees are listed in this issue of the Banner.
4. As previously stated, National Officers and Committee Chairmen will submit Quarterly reports to the Chief of Staff. Quarterly reports will be submitted to the Chief of Staff by the following dates: November 8, 1996; February 14, 1997; May 16, 1997; and July 18, 1997 (three weeks before the National Encampment). The final report should summarize the preceding three quarters plus information about the fourth quarter. With the advent of the Chief of Staff acting as a liaison and the use of e mail and fax communication within the order, the flow of information has increased over the past two years which has resulted in a greater awareness of the mission statement of the order, section 3 of the Congressional Charter, and improved efficiency.
5. I would urge all Brothers to consult the Constitution and Regulations when questions arise concerning the appropriate resolution of problems. The National Legal Staff and finally the National Counselor are also available when difficulties arise over interpretation of the C & R. I would recommend that all National, Department, and Camp officers study the most recent version of the C& R available. Copies or supplements may be obtained from the National Quartermaster Bud Atkinson, PCinC.
6. All Brothers are urged to contribute to the Senior Vice Commander-in- Chief's Fund which is used to buy membership ads. Our membership has increased considerably the past few years due directly to these expenditures. Send your contributions to Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Richard D. Orr, 153 Connie Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15214. Checks and money orders should be made out to: National Organization, SUVCW.
7. In addition, Brothers are encouraged to send contributions to the National Patriotic Instructor Mr. Edward Krieser, 1354 Gilleevan Drive, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383. These funds are used to support Patriotic Programs which perpetuate the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic. Checks and money orders should be made out to: National Organization, SUVCW.
8. The Scholarship Application developed by the Scholarship Committee will continue to be used during the current administration. Applicants may obtain a copy by contacting me at the above address. All completed applications and supporting documentation should be returned to me and will then be submitted to the Scholarship Committee for evaluation. Recommendations will then be submitted to the Commander-in-Chief for final selection. The dead line for submission of applications will be March 31, 1997.
9. On behalf of our Order, I would like to extend greetings and congratulations to all the new National Presidents of the four ladies organizations that compose the Allied Orders of the GAR with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. These organizations include the Auxiliary to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and the Woman's Relief Corps. I look forward to working with all four ladies and their organizations as we combine our efforts in behalf of the Allied Orders in honoring the Grand Army of the Republic.
10. Past experience indicates that my schedule for the year will begin to fill rapidly. I would strongly suggest that Departments that desire that I attend their Department Encampment and/or other activities submit their request as soon as possible. Written requests are recommended since memory overload and misunderstandings can and do occur. For reasons of fairness, invitations will be accepted and acknowledged on a first- come, first-served basis.
11. I would urge all brothers who have the opportunity to attend the Remembrance Day activities at Gettysburg on Saturday, November 16th. I have attended the past two years and I can assure you that this activity is one of the highlights of the year. Brigadier General Corfman and his committee have done an excellent job in the past and I am sure that this year will be no exception. All members of the Council of Administration are advised that there will be a meeting of the Council at 8:00 A.M. Sunday, November 17, 1997 in Gettysburg at the headquarters hotel.
12. Two items were emphasized by the previous two administrations and I would like to reemphasize them again, namely membership recruitment and technology. A motto which I have often quoted is as follows: Any organization is always one generation from extinction. Without recruiting new and younger members, our organization is doomed to extinction. This is an activity in which each one of us must be involved. Additionally, the development of the rapid communications network, e mail and fax, within the order has greatly increased the efficiency with which we are conducting our business. I would like to support and encourage the continued use and improvement of this network. I would like to encourage all those in leadership position who do not use at least one of these forms of communication to consider installing and using one or both.
13. I would now like to address what I consider a very serious and crucial topic concerning the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and its mission. I would first like to quote Section 3 of our Congressional Charter.
" The purposes of the corporation shall be: To perpetuate the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the men who saved the Union in 1861 to 1865; to assist in every practicable way in the preservation and making available for research of documents and records pertaining to the Grand Army of the Republic and its members; to cooperate in doing honor to all those who have patriotically served our country in any war; to teach patriotism and the duties of citizenship, the true history of our country, and the love and honor of our flag; to oppose every tendency or movement that would weaken loyalty to, or make for the destruction or impairment of, our constitutional Union; and to inculcate and broadly sustain the American principles of representative government, of equal rights, and of impartial justice for all. "
On April 21 I received a telephone call concerning the sale of two parrot gun tubes that were part of the GAR monument in the former I. O. O. F. Cemetery in Marion, Indiana. With the help of a committee of SUVCW members in the Marion area evidence was gathered, including a court certified copy of the Deed of Conveyance, and a complaint was filed with the Marion Police Department. During the on going investigation the FBI and Grant County Prosecutor's Office were contacted. It was the judgment of the Prosecutor's Office that we pursue a civil case rather than their office prosecuting the case. This conclusion is based on the fact that no one of any organization had attempted in any way to maintain the GAR monument. Indiana law, and I suspect that most states are similar, indicates that it is essential that successor organizations such as ours conduct some type of maintenance in order to substantiate their claim of ownership. Another area of this problem that I have become aware of is the implementation of the Deed of Conveyance. Since the 1950s when this document was executed, the SUVCW has generally not located, catalogued, or attempted in any way to claim ownership of GAR properties, particularly monuments that are located in cemeteries. It is my understanding that using the Deed of Conveyance, our organization can locate and transfer a deed, which a GAR post executed for building a monument, to our organization. This legal exercise along with doing some type of maintenance on the monument or plot would establish our legal claim of ownership. If this had been done in Marion, I am sure that by this time these two gun tubes would be back in their proper place.
The question is as it appears to me, have we fulfilled our obligation, as descendants of our forefathers that preserved the Union, to preserve the ". . . documents and records pertaining to the Grand Army of the Republic . . . "? It is my intent during this administration to set in motion the process, briefly outlined above, to identify and begin the process of preserving GAR properties and materials throughout the United States. Although this is a huge undertaking, a journey must always start with the first footstep. I would ask that each member of our order rededicate himself to his obligation by committing to a preservation project, no matter how small or large, individually or as a group. As Benjamin Franklin commented during the American Revolution, " We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
14. Department Commanders are encouraged to appoint a Department Webmaster to work with the National Webmaster to establish and maintain a Department Home Page on the Internet. The appointed brother must have access to the Internet. The National Communication Technology Committee has created a Department Home Page Template which the appointed brother can download, modify and ship to National Webmaster Glenn Knight to be added to the National Website. Those appointed must send an e mail message to Bro. Knight at email@example.com who will respond with the Internet address for the template and complete instructions.
By Order of:
Alan R. Loomis
David F. Wallace