1. Having been elected and installed Commander-in-Chief by the assembled delegates at the 116th National Encampment at Utica, New York on August 9, 1997, command is hereby assumed and headquarters established at the above address. All correspondence requiring the attention of the Commander-in-Chief should be sent to the above address.
2. All business correspondence should be addressed to David Hahn, National Secretary PO Box 386, Hammonton, NJ 08037-0386.
3. All supply requisition with payment should be sent to Elmer F. Atkinson, National Quartermaster, 1016 Gorman St., Philadelphia, PA 19116
4. All bills and requests for payment should be sent to the Hon. James B. Pahl, National Treasurer, 445 W. Maple Street, Mason, MI 48854-1519.
5. All requests for Eagle Scout Certificates should be sent to Robert M. Petrovic, Eagle Scout Certificate Coordinator, 4729 Mehl Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63129-1626.
6. The confidence which the Brothers have shown in me is greatly appreciated. I want to express my sincere thanks to those Brothers who supported me. Particularly, those Brothers who called and e-mailed when I was considering withdrawing because of the events which immediately preceded the Encampment. It is only because of the encouragement and support which these Brothers expressed that I did continue.
7. The Department of New York is to be congratulated for all of their efforts in planning and hosting a most successful National Encampment.
8. The past year has been very difficult for all members of this Order. It is time for us to begin the healing process. Time to renew our obligation of membership. We must not lose sight of our purposes -- to keep alive the memory of our forefathers, to decorate and preserve their graves and monuments, to teach patriotism to our fellow Americans. We have a common cause and purpose. That is the basic building block of our Order. This common purpose and the fraternal ties of our ancestors are the foundation of our fraternal ties. In working to fulfill those obligations we must not put ourselves above the good of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil or above the maintenance of the history and spirit of the Grand Army of the Republic. But we also need to be tolerant of those who do not always agree with each of us. We need to use our differences for the growth of the Order. We need to regain site of true fraternalism. I am asking each Brother to look into his heart and recommit himself to this Order, to each other, to a renewed spirit of purpose and fraternalism.
9. We have seen significant growth in membership over the past few years, but we cannot lessen our recruitment efforts. Each Brother must make an effort to increase the ranks of our Order. With over 5000 current members, we should be able to double that number during the next year. All it takes is for each member to enroll a son, brother, nephew, cousin, father or friend. I am asking each Brother to actively recruit one new member this year. If we can do this over the next two years, we can commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closing of the GAR in 1999 with 20,000 members. All it takes is one new member by each Brother each of the next two years.
10. Even though we have made progress in membership recruitment, membership retention is still a problem. My observation has been that members are most frequently lost because of a lack of opportunity to serve. Each camp needs to develop a program for its meetings and activities for its members. These activities and programs need to be varied to meet the needs and expectations of all members. Recruiting new members is less effective when there is a high turnover in the membership.
11. The National Organization and Departments need to provide direction and fundamental support for the nationwide projects we have established. The projects also need to be made manageable by breaking them into numerous smaller projects.
12. The Graves Registration Committee has been assigned the task of locating all Union veteran graves outside of the National Military Parks and the National Cemeteries. This is a monumental task. We are attempting to locate 2 million graves. A project we cannot accomplish without assistance. The Graves Registration Committee is charged with the following tasks. Some of these will require years to complete.
A) Finalize the database structure and distribute copies of the database structure and the data forms to all Departments. We need to all be using the same format.
B) Working together with the Communications & Technology Committee develop a Webpage for our Web site which will allow the input of data.
C) Provide guidance to each Department to organize the Department into manageable areas for surveying and verifying grave sites.
D) Obtain all information available from the National Cemeteries and the Civil War Honor Roll.
E) Organize the Member-at-Large and Camps-at-Large into a network of volunteers to survey he county in which they live.
F) Solicit the support of veterans organizations in this effort.
G) Departments submit all existing information.
H) Departments, Camps, NMAL, and other organizations begin soliciting information.
13. The National History Committee is, in part, responsible for the identification of all GAR records. Through time many of these records have been lost and others are tucked away on back shelves in libraries and historical societies. It is our responsibility to make these available for future generations. With an emphasis on locating and not on taking possession of these records, the History Committee is charged with the following tasks for the coming year.
A) Define what a GAR record is and determine what records are of importance.
B) Based on item 1 begin developing a database structure and data form.
C) Survey all state archives, state libriaries, and historical socities.
D) Through appropriate national organizations contact libraries for records which may be in their holdings.
E) Assisted by the Departments, Camps-at-Large and Members-at-Large contact historical societies for holdings.
F) Working together with the Communications & Technology Committee develop a Webpage for our Web site which will allow the input of data.
G) Begin survey of all VFW, American Legion and other veterans organizations for materials which may be in their possession. Contact will be made theough the respective national organizations.
14. The National Civil War Memorials Committee has been created for the purpose of locating all Union monuments, memorials and sculptures excluding those under the care of the National Park Service, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense and ascertaining their condition. To begin this project the committee has been charged with the following tasks for the 97-98 year.
A) Determine what information is needed.
B) Based on item 1 begin developing a database structure and a data form.
C) Working together with the Communications & Technology Committee develop a Webpage for our Web site which will allow the input of data.
D) Determine what information is already available from SOS and other sources such as the book written by Danny Wheeler about the New York Monuments.
E) Working with the Departments, Camps-at-Large and Members-at-Large design a method to systematically survey the nation for Civil War monuments, memorials, and sculptures.
F) Solicit assistance from veterans orgainzations and the Civil War community.
G) Implement the collection of the information.
15. In August, 1999 we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the last encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic. This is an opportunity to bring attention to the GAR, to keep alive the memory of the Boys in Blue which we cannot ignore. To this end the 1999 GAR Memorial Committee has been charged with the following tasks.
A) Determine a suitable location and date for such an activity.
B) Determine what the activity or activities will be.
C) As soon as possible, in conjunction with the Sons of Veterans Reserve, advise and invite the re-enactment community to participate.
D) Begin planning the event, media coverage etc..
E) Design and commission a suitable commemorative medal.
F) Coordinate activities with MOLLUS and Allied Orders throught the Liason to MOLLUS and the Fraternal Relations Committee.
16. All Department Commanders are requested to take all measures necessary to assure the participation of your Department in these activities.
17. All Department Commanders of Departments through which the GAR Highway passes are to assure that the Department GAR Highway Officer provides copies of information concerning the GAR Highway to the National GAR Highway Officer.
18. While the committee members have been appointed, any Brother with an interest in assisting with these four projects should contact the appropriate officer or committee chairman.
19. Recruiting and retaining young members is vital to the long term survival of this Order. For that reason, I am appointing a number of National Aides who will function as a special advisory committee to the Commander-in-Chief. They are charged with developing ways to attract young members and keep them. They have been authorized to consider all facets of the functioning of the Order. I would like to appoint two more Aides to this committee. Requirements are less than 21 years of age, able to articulate their ideas, willing to work in a committee setting, a earnest interest in the future of the Order, and an understanding that change comes slowly to this Order. If you meet these requirements and would like to serve in this capacity, please contact me..
20. As reported in the July issue of the Banner, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has introduced legislation to return Memorial to May 30. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. I am requesting every Brother to send a letter to Senator Hatch asking him to discharge S 116 from committee without amendment. If one of your Senators sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, send a letter to that Senator also. Copies of all letters should be sent to Senator Inouye with a note of thanks for his efforts.
Send your letters to:
Hon. Orrin C. Hatch
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510
Hon. Daniel Inouye
United States Senate
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510-1102
Five thousand letters about one bill will get attention.
21. The 41st Annual Remembrance Day will be held November 15, 1997 in Gettysburg, PA. Please note the change in time for the activities. The ceremony will be held at 1:45 PM. Immediately, thereafter, all uniformed troops and all others who wish to do so will proceed to the Angle for the Confederate memorial. There will be no program in the Cyclorama. The annual Dinner sponsored by the Past Commanders and Past Presidents Association of Central Pennsylvania will be at the Eisenhower Inn. For information contact Past Commander-in-Chief George Long, 222 Lincoln, Lancaster, PA. The National Civil War Ball will begin at 9:00 PM at the Eisenhower Inn. Donation for the ticket is $10. Tickets can be obtained from The National Civil War Ball, 1016 Gorman At., Philadelphia, PA 19116. Please make checks payable to The National Civil War Ball.
22. Brothers are reminded to support the National Patriotic Instructor's Fund, Sr. Vice Commander-in-Chief's Fund, National Headquarters Fund and Permanent Fund.
23. The Commander-in-Chief's calendar will be planned to best serve the Order. Please extend your invitations as early as possible to assist me in making up my itinerary. Space permitting the Commander-in-Chief's itinerary will be published in the Banner.
24. All Departments and Camps are encouraged to report their activities for publication in the Banner. If sufficient numbers of planned activities are sent to the Editor, we will publish a calendar of upcoming events.
25. All Brothers are encouraged to submit appropriate articles for publication in the Banner to the Editor. Submission does not necessarily mean it will be published. Space, topic and appropriateness effect all submittals.
26. Any and all complaints regarding the Banner should be addressed to the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief who has been designated as the Publisher.
27. If your Department is having any situation or problem that requires the attention of the Commander-in-Chief, please contact me immediately by telephone or e-mail. These situations will be given priority.
28. Information about the ill or bereaved should be brought to the attention of myself or the National Secretary in order that proper attention may be given to the needs of the member or his family.
29. All Brothers are encouraged to extend a welcome and lend support and assistance to the recently organized Descendants of African American Union Soldiers/Sailors and their White Officers in the Civil War 1861-1865..
30. Appointments of National Officers, standing committees, special committees, advisory committees to the Council of Administration, and National Aides have been made.
31. All members of the Council of Administration are advised that there will be a meeting of the Council at 0900 hours on Sunday November 16, 1997 in Gettysburg, PA at the Eisenhower Inn. Location and time is subject to change.
32. All sitting Department Commanders are invited to attend and observe the above referenced Council of Administration meeting.
33. To all the elected and appointed officers and committees, I extend my best wishes for a productive year. With the assistance of the Divine Being we will succeed. "You do what you can, where you are, with what you have and then you do more." Theodore Roosevelt
By Order of
Richard D. Orr