The Sons of Veterans Reserve's (SVR) roots date back to 1881 with the "Cadet Corps" of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) - the largest Union Veterans organization which formed in 1866 after the Civil War. The members of the GAR encouraged the formation of their sons as the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) in 1881. These units eventually became known as the Sons of Veterans Reserve, when the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War moved toward a more patriotic and educational organization in design. Many of the Sons of Union Veterans Camps (local organizations) formed reserve military units which volunteered their services during the Spanish - American War, World War I, and with the National Guard. Just prior to World War I, over 5,000 men wore the blue uniform of the SVR. As late as the 1930's, several states regarded their local SVR units as a military training component. Since World War II, the SVR has evolved into a ceremonial and commemorative organization. In 1962, the National Military Department was created by the SUVCW and consolidated the SVR units under national regulations and command. Since 1962, there have been five SUVCW Brothers that have held the SVR rank of Brigadier General and have had the honor to serve as the Commanding Officer of the SVR:
PCinC Robert E. Grim,
David V. Medert,
PCinC Keith G. Harrison,
PCinC Charles Corfman,
PCinC Richard Schlenker, and
PCinC Chester S. Shriver.
The Sons of Veterans Reserve is in close and constant cooperation with its parent Order, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. As part of its ceremonial and commemorative purpose, the SVR participates in the following activities:
- The annual ceremonial observance of Memorial Day on May 30th throughout the country.
- The annual ceremonial observance of the Grand Army of the Republic Remembrance Day at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
- The annual ceremonial observance of Lincoln's Birthday in Washington, D.C. and of Lincoln's Death day in Springfield, Illinois.
- Act as Ceremonial Honor Guard at the Allied Orders of the GAR public Campfire program held annually during the SUVCW National Encampment.
- Participation in the many ceremonial and commemorative Civil War observance and events throughout the country.
Besides participating in these ceremonial aspects, many SVR units actively participate in re-enactments and living histories. The National Military Department also conducts an annual military encampment for training and instructional purposes.
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