Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

January 2021

 

Contents

          Meeting Announcements

          Message From the Chapter President

          Revolution History note

          Program Schedule

          Color Guard Activity

          SAR and events update          

          Misc. reminders and information

 

Meeting Announcements

January

It is hoped that everyone enjoyed Christmas and the holidays and are still healthy and safe. We will have a virtual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 16 at noon. (our usual day and time).  President Dave Bryant will send out a zoom link to everyone prior to the 16th so you can log on and participate.  Our January 16th virtual Zoom meeting will feature William L. (Larry) Kidder, author of this book, live from New Jersey, thanks to our Sgt.-At-Arms Roger Roscoe.

 

This meeting will also be our virtual Officer Installation meeting.  Florida SAR Past President Patrick Niemann will perform the installation. 

 

December

 

First, we apologize for the technical difficulties we experienced and prevented some of you from participating in this meeting.  Our December Zoom meeting included a presentation by author Serena Zabin on her new book The Boston Massacre.  Zabin is a Professor of History at Carlton College of Northfield, Minnesota.  After nearly 10 years of research which included material already in the Carlton College Library as well as a trip to England to research the muster rolls of the British Army, and much more, her book was released in February 2020.  Zabin argues that what happened in Boston was far from the clash of strangers as it has been depicted historically. Instead, she said, it was a fight between neighbors. According to Zabin, "This history of the U.S. founding actually is much more dynamic and much more human and much more emotional than we tend to think of it. And it's a lot more interesting,"

 

Chapter President Bryant’s Message

Happy New Year Compatriots,

 

While the COVID virus continues to limit our contact, it has not shut us down.  We will continue to meet virtually by Zoom this month as well as February and March.  My expectation is that the vaccine will be effective by April and everyone will be safe, feeling comfortable to resume life the way it was and should be.

 

It is understandable that when the future is unknown and the present consumes everyone's attention, honoring and studying the past gets put on hold.  Our mission of promoting awareness of American history is a lower priority when we are in the midst of a public health crisis.  However, we have adapted trying to make the best of the situation by getting speakers who would typically not be available for a regular lunch gathering.  We will continue with these Zoom meetings for the first 3 months of this year.  In April I hope we will be able to meet again and do the work of the chapter.  We have several new members to welcome and some awards to present.  While I prefer to wait to do these live, I understand if anyone would rather that I just mail them.  Let me know.  One such medal is the Military Service medal.  If you are Honorably Discharged from any of the armed forces of the United States for any period, please send me a copy of your DD214 if you have not already done so.

 

Revolution History Note

                                      Reading History forward, not backward

 

Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872 – 1945) once wrote: “The Historian…must always maintain towards his subject an indeterminist point of view.   He must constantly put himself at a point in the past at which the human factors still seem to permit different outcomes.  If he writes of Salamis, then it must be as if the Persians might still win.”

We read history backwards. People at the time did not know what was going to happen, they were living history forward. Since we know what happened, we tend to see outcomes as inevitable. And we identify certain events as turning points instead of seeing them as they were seen at the time.  If we read history forward, however, apparent turning points may not be as significant as we think.

          Take, for example, Saratoga in the American War for Independence. It is usually singled out as the turning point since it resulted in the French alliance.  That presupposes that after Saratoga the British never had a chance to win and the Americans were not going to lose.  While I still teach that Saratoga is important because it did result in the French alliance, I no longer use the phrase turning point. No one in London or the American Congress at the time thought the war was now a foregone conclusion.

The French alliance kept Washington’s army supplied and, in the field, but since there was no major fighting in the north after Monmouth, those supplies did not lead to victories. It is also true that the alliance forced England to divert resources to protect other parts of its empire and it did bring a French fleet into American waters in October of 1781. But that circumstance could not have been predicted after Saratoga.

          While Saratoga thwarted the British campaign of 1777, Britain did not give up on suppressing the American rebellion.  They launched their southern campaign in 1780 with the full intention of it succeeding and bringing the Americans to heel.  The French were a non-factor in the American south so there is no connection between an American victory at Saratoga and American successes in the south in 1780 and 1781.

          Today we piece together a sequence of events that runs from Kings Mountain to Cowpens to Guilford Courthouse and then to Yorktown. At the time, while each represented a setback, the British did not view them as a string of events inevitability leading to the loss of the colonies.  Indeed, had Cornwallis, chosen to fall back to his base at Charleston or even to spend the winter re-supplying and refitting at Wilmington, there would have been no Yorktown and there would have been a new campaign in 1782.

          As Huizinga wrote, we must put ourselves “at a point in the past at which the human factors still seem to permit different outcomes.”  If you want to pick that point at which the human factor could still permit different outcomes, it would be Cornwallis’ decision to head to Virginia after Guilford Courthouse, instead of spending the winter in Wilmington or Charleston preparing for a spring campaign in 1782.

          Reading history backward, as we are wont to do, allows us to make history neat and tidy with simple explanations for how things turned out.  Reading history forward is usually not as tidy, but much more interesting.

           

Program schedule

 

January 16 (Zoom)     William L Kidder & Officer Installation

February 20 (Zoom)

March 20 (Zoom)

April 17   TBD

May 15    TBD

 

Color Guard Activity

There are no known Color Guard opportunities in the Tampa area over the next few months.  Other Chapters and State Societies continue to hold virtual Color Guard events.  That information will be forwarded as it comes available. 

On the State level. the Florida Society C.A.R. has asked the Florida SAR State Color Guard to present the Colors at the opening of their Annual Conference Banquet on Saturday, February 20, in St Augustine.  The Florida Society DAR has asked the Florida State Color Guard to present the Colors at the opening of their Spring Conference Banquet on Friday, March 5, in Orlando.   These are both State Events for those of you counting points toward the Bronze SAR Color Guard Medal. 

 

Currently, there are plans to hold in-person Commemorations of the Last Naval Battle on Merritt Island on March 13, the Battle of Thomas Creek in Jacksonville on March 27 and the Battle of Pensacola on May 8.  More information will be provided as we get closer to those events.  These are all National Events for purposes of counting points toward the Silver SAR Color Guard Medal and the SAR Von Steuben Medal for Sustained Achievement in the National Color Guard.

 

While many of you were attending the December meeting by Zoom on December 19, Color Guard Commander Dick Young and Terry Doan were at the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at American Legion Post #5 in Tampa.  They are pictured below with representatives from Desoto Chapter DAR, Winding Waters Chapter DAR and Fort Brooke Society C.A.R.  They also took a minute to place a wreath and recognize a Vietnam veteran resting in the public cemetery adjacent to the Veterans Cemetery. 

 

        

 

Other important dates

February 20             Florida C.A.R. Annual Conference

February 22             George Washington’s Birthday

March 5                    Boston Massacre

March 5                   Florida DAR Spring Conference Banquet

March 20                 Last Naval Battle Commemoration

March 27                 Battle of Thomas Creek Commemoration

April 13                     Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday

April 19                     Battles of Lexington & Concord

May 8                       Battle of Pensacola Commemoration

 

SAR Events

 

The 2021 Congress is scheduled to be held in-person in Renton, Washington (Seattle) on July 8 – 14.  Information is available on the SAR website.  The 2022 Congress will in Savanah, Georgia.  The 2023 Congress will be held in Orlando.  Plans are being made and volunteers will be needed. 

 

Miscellaneous Reminders

The new face book page for the Tampa Sons of the American Revolution is

Tampa Sar. The password to add anything is American1776.  Please feel free to upload pictures or comments. Invite all your friends to take a look.

 

Chapter Website—remember you can find information about the chapter and programs on the chapter website.   http://www.tampasar.org/

 

One of the duties of the Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. Another is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away. If you know of anyone that should be the recipient of these cards please mention it to Chaplain Sessums or one of the other officers.

 

 Chapter officers and committee chairman are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.