Constitution Day, September 17th 2011, the National Society of Sons of the American Revolution held a noon to midnight candle light vigil to honor General George Washington at his tomb located at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Color guard members from ten states and guests gathered early Saturday morning in preparation for the event in a field just north of Washington’s home. After orders of the day were read, a special vintage candle lantern was presented to NSSAR Treasurer General Joe Dooley of Virginia for his leadership as a steering committee member in helping make the vigil happen. This event was special. At noon, shift captains posted the first two state color guardsmen as hundreds of guests to Mount Vernon visited Washington’s tomb that day.
The event had its roots some 12 months earlier when members of the Great Lakes District began discussing the possibilities of a vigil at Mount Vernon to honor to honor our first president. Soon after, National Color Guard Commander Mike Tomme sanctioned the vigil as a national color guard event for the National Society of Sons of the American Revolution.
Representing their respective states Color Guard participants were: Russ Buhr, Thomas Buhr, and Daniel Buhr, brothers from the Wisconsin Society; N. Walker Chewning, and Milus Bruce Maney, Georgia Society; William Sharp, Indiana Society; Allen Brahin, North Carolina Society; David Embrey, Maryland Society; Steven Perkins, Massachusetts Society; Joe Dooley, Virginia Society and Gerald Burkland, Bill Vette, Joe Conger, Jerry Reed Sr., and Dr. Robert Sprague, all from Michigan Society. Official photographer for the event was Michael Ouellette from Maryland.
In the solace of the moments of guard duty, one could reflect on the great accomplishments of the Commander in Chief. What a high honor it was to guard his tomb, for no one else was in admittance on the estate in the evenings. Special permission was obtained from the Ladies of Mount Vernon for this vigil. We were all sure; our collective patriot ancestors were smiling. As this peaceful cool evening moved towards a moon-light midnight, guardsman paid individual respects to the General and silently removed the colors and blew out the candles that flickered light on his tomb. Climbing the hill volunteer Guardsman made their way, from the dark hues of light around the tomb, ever respectful of the accomplishments of this great man and proud to have had the opportunity to honor him on Constitution Day.
In saying farewell to the new nation he helped create, Washington stated that “…..the name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism…”
To the great statesman and leader of his country…no tribute to this day could be more fitting.
For more images from the event you can see Cmopatriot Conger's Photo's Here