ALEXANDRIA, VA – On Saturday, October 24, the public is invited to witness the Alexandria grave marking of three patriots of the American Revolution.
This year’s grave marking by the Sons of the American Revolution honors John Longden, John Sloan, and Joseph Smith. The event will take place at the Trinity Methodist Church cemetery on Wilkes Street, 11 a.m. -12 p.m. Saturday, October 24.
The Sons of the American Revolution
The Sons of the American Revolution was founded in 1889, the year marking the 100th anniversary of George Washington taking the oath of office of the President of the United States. On June 9, 1906, established by an act of Congress, the charter was signed by SAR Compatriot President Theodore Roosevelt.
In April 1954, the George Washington Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was chartered. The chapter initiated many traditions “designed to perpetuate the ideals of our Revolutionary War era patriots,” including the annual marking of patriot graves, a tradition begun in 2013.
Revolutionary Graves Program
The GWSAR schedule a patriot grave marking each fall as Veteran’s Day approaches. “We have been trying to mark all the patriots buried in the Wilkes Street complex. Two years ago we marked the ones in the Presbyterian cemetery,” explains Paul Walden, Grave Marking Chair at GWSAR.
“The Revolutionary Graves Program honors the final resting place of the patriots of the American Revolution. Our chapter places brass markers and plaques at the graves of Revolutionary patriots as a visible symbol to the public that the person buried at that place aided in the cause of the American Revolution,” notes the GWSAR website.
As Revolutionary War service records tend to be sparse, we do not know if these men received any medals or honors for their service. Thus, these grave markings are all the more significant as they supply lasting evidence of the duties of these patriots.
“Our chapter is striving to ensure every Revolutionary War patriot buried in Alexandria has been recognized,” Walden declares. “Concurrently, I am working with the Alexandria Public Library on Queen Street to recognize the patriots buried on that site. It is one of the ways that the Sons of the American Revolution ensures the history of these patriots are preserved for future generations.”
“The objects of our society are to be patriotic, historical, and educational,” says Walden. The tradition of the grave markings assures these objectives are achieved and upheld.
The SAR is the largest male lineage society in the U.S. consisting of 50 societies with more than 500 local chapters and several international societies with more than 33,000 total members. Prominent members have included sixteen U.S. presidents, Winston Churchill, and King Juan Carlos I of Spain. All members have proven descent from someone who provided military service during the Cause for Independence, or provided material or financial support to the cause. Patriot ancestors are both male and female.