Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

Meeting Notice and News, May 2011



            Our next meeting will be held on May 21st in the private meeting room of the Piccadilly Cafeteria, located at 11810 Dale Mabry Highway North, Tampa, Florida (813-963-1660). Meetings begin at noon but members arrive as early as 11:30 for a time of camaraderie.

We had a late change in our program. We will still hear from a veteran, just not the two originally scheduled.

Below are a number of other items that may be of interest to you. Thanks for taking the time to look them over.




Kevin Yarnell

Secretary, Tampa Chapter



Thanks for your help!

I wanted to offer a special note of thanks to the members for their help and cooperation with the ROTC luncheon last month. Eleven cadets and their guests attended, which we believe, is a record. You were gracious to engage the cadets in conversation and I noted several members working the room with the intent of greeting each guest. Several pitched in some funds to cover the cost of the meals and our officers kept things running smoothly behind the scenes.


In re-presenting the medals at the local unit ceremonies I’ve had three commanders comment on the very positive feedback they received from their cadet that attended. They might have enjoyed the program, but those comments derive most from the warm welcome our members extended to them.



Don’t Forget: 2nd Annual Conference on the American Revolution

June 24-26, Baltimore

John Skillman sent the following:

Click here to view the flyer for the 2nd Annual Conference on the American Revolution, to be held in Baltimore 24-26 June. As you may recall, I attended the first one last June at West Point, NY, on the subject of George Washington and his protégés. This year’s topic is Black Patriots of the American Revolution. Candidly, I had never thought that blacks played much of a role in the Revolution until I read Ron Chernow’s new book, “Washington: A Life.” I was surprised to learn how many there were and how important they were to both sides.


I can say of last year’s conference that it has been years since I had such exposure to so many college professors in one weekend and all were thoroughly versed in their topics. The conference was extremely well organized from beginning to end, and I enjoyed it so much that I plan to attend this year. Let me know if any of you are interested in joining me.



Minutes of the April 16, 2011 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR


President Lloyd called the meeting to order at 12:00. Jack Bolen offered the invocation. Gray Reece led the pledge to the flag and the President led the pledge to the SAR.


Members present: Marty Miller, Ed Neugaard, Chuck Copeland, Alan Bell, Gray Reece, John Skillman, Jack Bolen, John Sessums, Chuck Hawley, Dick Young, Charles Klug, Luke Lloyd, Leo Kelly, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.


Welcome guests:

Wives: June Bolen DAR Regent, Lissette Young, Jeanne Lloyd and Judy Copeland

Other guests: Prospective members Glenn Clapper and Robbins Denham; and 11 guests and their families and guests


The President and members introduced our guests.


The minutes of the March meeting were approved.  


The Secretary had nothing to report.


Treasurer Chuck Copeland reported a checking account balance of $2,858.87 and cash of $26.88 for a total of $2,885.75.


On behalf of the Chapter Color Guard, Alan reported that the guard presented the colors at the March 12th C.A.R. State Annual Meeting held in Tampa.


Alan Bell, the chapter registrar, reported on the status of our prospective members.

-        Six supplementals have been received at National

-        Leo Kelly’s membership application has been approved and we are waiting for certificate

-        One membership application is at National awaiting approval

-        Two membership applications are awaiting Florida approval.


The President presented awards to

  • Jack Bolen a Bronze Color Guard Medal
  • Robert Alan Bell a Bronze Color Guard Medal
  • Meritorious Service Medal to Secretary Kevin Yarnell
  • 2 approved supplemental applications to John Skillman


Vice President Robert Yarnell announced the May program. Two veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will be speaking on their experiences. This promises to be an especially interesting program.


The meeting recessed for lunch.


The Vice President introduced the Secretary who provided the program entitled, “A Story of Conviction: Archbishop Joseph P. HurleyI


After a brief introduction to the SAR for the benefit of the cadets and guests, the speaker introduced the origin of this year’s topic. The building in which the speaker works at Tampa Catholic is named for Archbishop Joseph Hurley. In December he happened upon a book detailing Hurley’s life and particularly his involvement in Vatican diplomacy prior to WWII. It is from the book, “Vatican secret Diplomacy: Joseph P. Hurley and Pope Pius XII” by Charles R. Gallagher, S.J. that the information for this presentation is taken.


The speaker’s goal was to use three stories from Hurley’s life that illustrate how he stuck to his convictions even against strong opposition and examine how these might inspire us to also have the courage of our own convictions.


Some brief background on Joseph Hurley was presented in order to provide some framework for the three stories.

-        He was born Jan 21, 1894 in Cleveland Ohio

-        While growing up there was a concerted effort on the part of American Catholic hierarchy to “Americanize” Catholics. Thus Hurley had instilled in him a deep sense of patriotism and the idea that Catholic’s – men and priests in particular – had an obligation to stand up for that which was right

-        Ordained 1919, and served several parishes in Cleveland 1919-1926

-        In 1926 Hurley takes a medical leave of absence and ends up studying diplomacy in France

-        In Europe Hurley reconnects with a former seminary professor Edward Mooney. Mooney is named Apostolic Delegate to India and asked Hurley to be his secretary.

-        Hurley serves In India from early 1930 to  early 1931

-        Mooney and Hurley are assigned to Japan in 1931. Mooney is recalled in late 1933 after which Hurley, with little formal diplomatic training, heads the Japanese delegation until March 1934 during increasing militarization in Japan


Story #1: “Duty to Fight for the Right” Speech

            After Hurley’s time in Japan he was appointment as “assigned expert” in the Vatican secretariat of state. At this point the Vatican saw Communism as its primary threat and despite the rise of Nazism in Europe did not see this as significant. During the same period the Roosevelt administration “recognized that the Vatican wielded significant spiritual and moral authority over millions of Catholics around the world, and they coveted papal support for their domestic and foreign policies”

            Hurley use information provided to him by the Roosevelt administration in writings for the Vatican newspaper including publishing Roosevelt’s speeches. He was also able to present the US views on world events to the Vatican hierarchy. Over time, Hurley begins to view Nazism as a significant moral threat and his relationship with Pius XI deepens to the point where Hurley is the Pope’s primary choice for an English interpreter.

            Pius also began to see Nazism in more urgent light. At a Jan 1939 meeting attended by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and foreign secretary Viscount Halifax, Pope Pius XI and Hurley the British delegation is able to convince both Pius and Hurley that Nazism is a more immediate threat than is Communism.

            Pius XI dies in Feb 1939 but Hurley strives to keep his views of Nazism alive through Vatican Radio and newspaper

            Germany invades Poland in Sept 1, 1939

            Pope Pius XII takes a significantly different approach to the pending war than his predecessor. He chose to take on the role of peacemaker and therefore did not want to choose sides. The US was moving toward a policy of confrontation and Hurley agreed with this and sees it as what Pius XI would have done.

            On July 1, 1940 Hurley gave a pro-democratic & interventionist speech on Vatican Radio. In contrast to Pius XII, Hurley is blunt, no-holds barred, and passionate. Some quotes illustrate this:

-        “We have sympathy with the pacifists, but they are wrong”

-        “No word in the Gospel or in Papal teaching suggests that justice should go undefended, that it is not worth dying for”

-        “Conscientious objectors can be respected for their opinions, but their error does not excuse them from the responsibilities of patriotism.”

-        “The Church is no conscientious objector.”


The Vatican’s reaction to Hurley’s speech is very negative. The Bishop of St. Augustine (this would include all of Florida except the western part of the pan handle) Patrick Barry died on Aug 13, 1940. Normally the Vatican would take 6 months to a year to name and install a replacement. Hurley was appointed to replace him just 3 days after Barry’s death and he was installed as Bishop of St. Augustine Nov 26, 1940.

This was a serious demotion as Florida in the early 1940’s was clearly a backwater location. It is clear that the Vatican hoped to get Hurley out of the way.

But the new Bishop did not give up on his convictions and spent the next several years continuing to speak of the evils of and serious threat posed by Nazism. At this time US Catholics were the most isolationist & least informed on international issues. Hurley strove to change that and worked closely with Sumner Welles, US Under Secretary of State in the task. Hurley would receive information - sometimes classified - from Welles and would incorporate it into speeches and writings. Welles in turn had these picked up in main stream media and thus moved the debate amongst Catholics from purely Catholic newspapers and journals to a wider audience.

            As an example on June 17, 1940 Bishop Hurley gave a speech at St. Leo’s Abby. Rather than speak of theological issues, Hurley gave a foreign policy speech that was printed in the Florida Catholic newspaper. The follow quote provides the tenor of the speech: “…the German army sought ‘to exterminate all that is best in the Polish people – their religion, their culture, and national traditions… ‘Girls of tender age are snatched form the bosom of their families to serve the lusts of the Reich soldier … and cases are known of these pitiful children being shot like dogs when exhaustion and disease have rendered them useless for this degraded service’”.

            Hurley also made a nation wide speech on CBS radio on July 6, 1941 in which he continued to speak bluntly about the Nazis and in March 1943 was one of the first high ranking Catholics in the US to acknowledge the Holocaust declaring in a written piece entitled “Anti-Semitism: Our Problem” that Catholics should take the lead in the fight against anti-Semitism.


Story #2: Ringing the Church Bells in Protest

            Following WWII Hurley wanted to return Communism as enemy #1 but neither the Vatican nor the US sought the same level of confrontation advocated by the Bishop. Still Hurley was able to stand up for his beliefs by organizing a protest against the planned visit to Florida of first deputy of the Soviet Union, Anastas Mikoyan in early 1959.

The Soviet leader’s two week good will tour included meetings with President Eisenhower and business leaders and tours in several places. Tampa was one of the planned stops but Hurley did not think hospitality was appropriate. Instead in a letter to priests in the Diocese he wrote, “We understand that Mikoyan, the Russian Communist, will be in Tampa on Jan 20. The Most Reverend Archbishop desires that our priests and people join together on that occasion in a solemn act of religious intercession for the repose of the souls of the tens of millions ruthlessly done to death by Mr. Mikoyan and his associates… It is further recommended that the church bells be tolled on this occasion. It would cause a tragic discouragement in the hearts of our suffering brethren behind the Iron Curtain, if we were not to manifest our profound sentiments of Catholic solidarity with them on this mournful occasion when Mikoyan defiles the soil of Florida.”

The US State Department did not take Hurley’s plans lightly and cancelled the Florida trip.


Story #3: A realtor

            The speaker offered a final example of Hurley’s convictions dealing with a lighter topic – real estate. Typically Bishops invest diocesan funds in conservative, blue-chip, investments. When Hurley arrived in Florida there was not much here, but he realize that this would not always be the case and began a significant program to purchase land throughout the state during WWII and through the 1950’s.

-        In the 1950’s land purchases averaged $300,000 per year

-        In 1950 alone he bought 155 acres in the St. Petersburg area.

-        After the Interstate Highway System was announced, Bishop Hurley charged his priest to buy at least 7 acres of land within 3 miles of each proposed interchange


Hurley was criticized for this use of funds but he saw land as being needed for both expansion and as investments. He was proven correct on both accounts.


The speaker concluded with three points that he saw as significant in these stories

1.      Hurley’s views were well thought-out

2.      History did not always prove him correct; Nazism, yes; Real estate, yes; post WWII Communism, maybe not

3.      He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind even at personal risk to his career


Then to encourage the members and guests, the speaker observed that while we don’t have the stage that Hurley enjoyed  each of us can still follow his example in our own smaller circles.


The President and secretary then presented the Bronze ROTC awards to the eleven cadets in attendance.


Robbin Denham won the 50/50.


The President led the recessional, Jack Bolen gave the benediction, and the meeting adjourned at 1:45pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary