With Veterans Day only a few days away, President James Stone added several additions to the normal agenda.
He spoke first before an empty chair containing a place setting for a meal, along with a rose in a vase with a ribbon tied around it, honoring all POW/MIA veterans.
Stone next read a definition of what a military veteran is, with the emphasis on the fact “every veteran took an oath basically giving to his country, up to and including his life.”
This was also a special night for several chapter veterans who received NSSAR military-related medals. These medals were paid for by an anonymous donor without any cost to the chapter.
The NSSAR War Service Medal was presented to Robert L. Butler (Vietnam), Archie Collins (Vietnam), Carl Evans (Desert Storm, Desert Shield), John Milne lll (Thailand-support for Vietnam War), and Robert G. Wilson (World War II, South Pacific).
The NSSAR Military Service Medal was presented to William J. Brown, Owen M. Cook, William M. Hamilton and William T. May.
One new member, Greg Thomas, was inducted by Stan Evans and presented his membership certificate. Stone spoke about the Society rosette and presented a rosette to him.
Second Vice President Dave Whaley introduced keynote speaker, Jamie Russell, a native American who entertained by playing traditional tunes on a river cane flute of his own crafting.
Born in Oklahoma, he is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and moved to the Tennessee Valley 15 years ago.
He has been making and playing the native flute for 15 years. These flutes are made from the area native river cane. The cane can also be used to make blowguns, wind chimes, and other items.
He has performed at powwows in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Illinois. He has also performed at Riverbend, the Tennessee Aquarium, the opening of Ronald McDonald House and at Chattanooga State.
He has opened for Bill Miller, a Grammy Award winner of Mohican heritage; for Arvel Bird, a world-class violinist with many awards, of Paiute heritage; and Annie Humphrey with her folksy style of the Ojibwa heritage.
Russell opened with a Thanksgiving song played on a cowhide drum. He explained the river cane has longer sections between the joints than bamboo, and explained how each hole in the flute can be tuned to a certain key, and how each flute sounds a little different.
He played several types including what he called the drone flute, which is made with two cane pieces. Also among the flutes he played was a much larger diameter with longer joints which gave a much deeper bass sound.
The slate of chapter officers for 2013 was announced. They are:
President, Van Deacon
1st vice president, Dave Whaley
2nd vice president, Bob George
Secretary, Joe Brock
Treasurer, Bill Hamilton
Registrar, Lynn Freeman
Historian, John Conner
Chancellor, Bill Brown
Chaplain, Eddie Cartwright
Sgt.-at-Arms, Jimmy Cooke
There were no nominees from the floor. The election was held and all were elected. The installation of officers will be conducted at the chapter’s Annual Meeting in December.
On Oct. 17, at the grave dedication for Revolutionary War soldier Thomas Atchley, several members of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter participated. James Stone, Stan Evans, Claude Hardison and Dave Whaley served in the Color Guard, and the chapter wreath was presented with Evans and Hardison being called on to salute it.
Whaley, who is a direct descendant of Thomas Atchley, gave a stirring biography on the ancestor. Chapter member the Rev. Bill Beard, who lives in Knoxville and is also a direct descendant of Thomas Atchley, was present as well.
Evans reported on the Wreaths Across America program and explained the wreaths purchased by the chapter would be laid on Dec. 15 at Chattanooga National Cemetery as part of the annual wreath-laying ceremony honoring our veterans. A considerable number of wreaths were purchased by chapter members and from other fraternal groups for the chapter, as well as 15 wreaths voted on and purchased at the meeting by the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter.
A number of chapter members and Cleveland residents will take part in the formal ceremony at the Chattanooga National Cemetery at the Military Pavilion on Dec. 15.
Stone called the meeting to order close the meeting, with Evans leading the Recessional, and Cartwright delivering the benediction and invocation.
Deacon led the pledge to the U.S. flag, Whaley led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Tommy McLain led the SAR flag pledge.
Among the guests introduced were Jason McLain and Lamar Henry. There were approximately 63 in attendance at the meeting.