Here’s what we did, and with some tweaking to your family specifications, you can do it, too!
Our first event, August 2nd, midday, was held in the back yard in Utah coinciding with the 89th Annual (Giles Sr. & Elizabeth “Betty” Terrell) Newton Family Reunion held at Boykin United Methodist Church in Marlboro County, South Carolina. I invited parents, children & grandchildren, and introduced our new family association “Hearts to the Forefathers” & logo: “Posterity Honoring Ancestry” & our chapter name “General Washington’s Junior Rangers,” and after an outdoor luncheon, armed with an aged American Flag and maps, I told the story of our ancestor Benjamin Herndon (ca.1760 VA-1814 SC, wife Ann “Nancy” Newton) believed to be THE Benjamin who mustered in Caroline County, 2nd VA Regiment, in the summer of 1777 and joined the Philadelphia Campaign, entered Valley Forge on 19 December 1777 & joined George Baylor’s Horse Service on 30 December 1777 with five others of his company/unit..
Our second event, September 12th, 10:00 am, was also conducted in the back yard in Utah coinciding with the official SAR gravemarking ceremony held simultaneously at the Griff Calhoun Cemetery in Trigg County, Kentucky, for our ancestor Joel Cohoon (1763 NC-1835 KY, of North Carolina militia, wife Naomi Futrell). Ours was quite a ceremony with the grandchildren, running concurrently. In short, we had a replica gravestone made by an enlarged photo mounted under plexiglass onto to a wood block, a table with photos of my recently deceased grandmother (whose line we were honoring), and of SAR members in colonial uniform discharging their black powder muskets. We had historical flags, silk flowers and wreaths with mini flags, we entered with a small drum, the 3′ x 5′ flags, gave a prayer, a biographical sketch, tribute to GG-grandma __ __ Calhoun Allen (recently deceased), birthday presentation to my Mom (of that line), heard the playing of “Taps,” had a flag-folding ceremony, let the grandchildren holler “Fire! Smoke!” in three make-believe volleys with wooden props, crying aloud, “Duty! Honor! Country!” and let them place the flowers & wreaths, read sciptures, and ended with prayer. Afterward they ran flag races and we had an outdoor luncheon. It was a huge success which everyone enjoyed! This event was inspired in June after my maternal grandmother’s funeral, when I attended my first-ever SAR gravemarking ceremony of non-relatives in the cemetery adjoining the yard of my paternal grandmother, and it was announced at the end that an upcoming ceremony would be held for my direct-line ancestor Joel Cohoon. I longed to bring the grandchildren to the ceremony but instead (due to cost-prohibitive impracticality) was inspired to bring the ceremony to the grandchildren. I spoke of it to my parents on the three-day drive returning home from the funeral. Dad brainstormed with me and those three days it cogitated and grew to colossal proportions.
I’ll be preparing an official report for:
Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter
Sons of the American Revolution
Getting into the spirit of it, I designed a family history inspiration flag and brought it to fruition, commissioning it with an artist (Aug 16th-Sep 5th) and contracting it with a custom flag company (Sep 16th&24th-Oct 19th):
Author | Illustrator | Father of 12
Creator of Wanted Hero & Chronicles of a Hero
(608) 620-HERO (4376)
FLAG COMPANY: Colonial Flag “Raise Your Standards”
Rep: Amanda Luker, Amanda@colonialflag
Colonial Flag is located at 9390 S. 300 W. in Sandy (Salt Lake City), Utah.
TOLL FREE AT 1-877-941-3524 (FLAG).
Our unofficial third event was on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015, when I debuted our new flag to the family. Currently, we are taking a winter break from our monthly events (since the holidays are about family anyway) and will resume in the months of spring (so we can spread out for outdoor activities).
Hope this inspires you in the amazing things you can do to bring your family history stories to life!
By researcher, Rose H. Bonnell, summarized (15 January 2016)
Citation: this post is the intellectual property of Rose Herndon Bonnell. You may use it with my permission when properly cited.