ALEXANDRIA, VA – On a partly cloudy day in Alexandria, Virginia, the George Washington Chapter Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution gathered to honor fallen American Revolutionary War soldiers John Longden, John Sloan, and Joseph Smith.
The ceremony took place at 11 a.m. in the Trinity United Methodist Church Cemetery, 1503 Wilkes Street. President of the George Washington Chapter, Jay Henn, led the welcoming and Reverend Grace Han, Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church led the invocation. As people from all chapters of the SAR gathered in remembrance of these men, Pastor Han read Psalm 121, quoting, “Oh God, by whose mercy the faithful depart and rest.”
The singing of the National Anthem followed. SAR grave marking ceremonies do not typically incorporate the singing of the National Anthem, but today was special. This year has been shifted drastically by the effects of the pandemic. “We try to do four veterans a year but with the pandemic it’s been tough,” states Jay Henn, chapter president. So many ceremonies have been cancelled, and so many heroes are forgotten. The GWSAR, however, has a large database which they are utilizing to expand their records of fallen soldiers of the Revolution and honor more and more men.
Each marked grave received an American flag and an SAR emblem as Richard Rankin, chapter treasurer, led the spectators in the SAR pledge. The graves of the three soldiers are arbitrarily dispersed throughout the cemetery, just as these men almost were in history. But as Alexandrians came together to honor them, they will be united in posterity.
The ceremony was concluded with a benediction by Donald Reynolds, chapter chaplain, who reminded spectators and those included in the ceremony to be humbled by these markers and encouraged to uphold the principles for which the men fought.
To see the grave markings of these three heroes, and numerous other marked heroes, visit the Alexandria National Cemetery on Wilkes Street, open to the public for all forms of remembrance.
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