As we find them, we share commemorations appropriate to honor reunions or ancestors from many sources (states and organizations) and for many reasons (pioneers, settlers, length of reunion, military service). Do you know of more? Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211.
Honor your ancestors!
Commemorations available from many sources provide special recognition at your reunion. These all have very specific requirements. Explore each individually.
... you strive to have your family remembered in a way that is true and correct to the actual way they lived.
By participating, you help to commemorate their lives. You will ensure that future generations will also remember.
The following include how to get a proclamation and national recognitions, commemorations for families and individuals (listed by state), military exploits (listed by war) and historical connections.
PROCLAMATIONS, KUDOS, CITATIONS, AND GREETINGS OF ALL KINDS
Your reunion group is special in many ways. Have you included public recognition of your group's uniqueness?
Among the many ways to highlight, honor and celebrate your group is to solicit citations. Who do you think should know about and acknowledge your reunion? The mayor? The governor? Senators? Congressional representatives? The President of the United States? All possible. All doable.
Tyrone Dumas welcomed the McNair Brazil Scott family reunion to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with greetings on behalf of the people of Wisconsin, from the governor, and Milwaukee, from the mayor and the county executive.
The following is a sample of a letter written to solicit a proclamation. Specific questions necessary to prepare your proclamation should be answered in your initial correspondence. You’ll need to introduce your reunion — what’s special about your group? Include the date, place and number expected. Allow plenty of time. Note that in the example, the writer allowed seven months.
Our reunion theme is “Today’s Youth. . .Our Families Future"
From: Tyrone P. Dumas
To: County Executive F. Thomas Ament
Subject: Proclamation/Resolution honoring the McNair-Brazil-Scott Family Reunion
Dear Mr. Ament:
Milwaukee is hosting the annual McNair-Brazil-Scott family reunion at the Marc Plaza hotel from July 8 through July 11. We want to showcase the best that Milwaukee has to offer and would like to have our family honored via a proclamation. Our roots are in the state of Arkansas and our family has settled all over the USA with a sizable group in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
We are expecting 250-300 people (visitors) for our 4 day reunion and want to have the proclamation presented at our family dinner on Saturday night, July 10. The proclamation should honor the legacy of the African-American Family as exhibited in the many generations of the McNair-Brazil-Scott Families.
Thanks for your time and effort. Please contact me ASAP when you have approved and scheduled the issuance of the proclamation. If you are available, we’d be honored if you’d personally present the proclamation to our family elders.
Tyrone P. Dumas, Reunion Committee Chairperson.
White House Greetings
Descended from a president?
Presidential Families of America is a lineage society whose members have direct or collateral hereditary blood-lines to deceased presidents of North American Republics (USA, Confederate State of America, Republic of Texas, Republic of West Florida). PFA does not do research, respond to inquiries about pedigrees nor provide information about presidents wives, vice presidents or cabinet members. A #10 SASE is required. Send to Dr. Lawrence Kent, 608 S. Conway Rd, Ste G, Orlando FL 32807.
Flags flown over the Capitol
Flags flown over the Capitol building in Washington DC are available to mark extra special events. Expect to pay a small fee depending upon size and fabric. The flag comes with a certificate stating the day, time and occasion for which it was flown — your reunion. You must contact your own representative or senator for instructions.
I am so thrilled to have received a US Flag that was flown over the Capitol in honor of the Morris family. Rose Hendrickson, Park City UT
Find a Confederate soldier
If you’re doing genealogical or family history research and need information about an ancestor who was a Confederate soldier, try these resources for possible information:
Confederate Descendants Society, PO Box 233, Athens AL 35611; or RARE Collection, TK Kennedy, PO Box 355, Braddock Heights MD 21702.
They would be elderly now, indeed, but persons whose fathers fought in the Union Army in the Civil War are eligible to be honored as “real sons” and “real daughters” of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War . Send name and summary of father’s service for potential honorees to Jerome Orton, PO Box 233, Syracuse NY 13201-0233.
WORLD WAR I
World War I Commemorative medals
Any living veteran of World War I may apply for a 75th anniversary commemorative medal; a gift from the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation. If the veteran is deceased, family may obtain a certificate in his/her name. You’ll need a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers (filed in County Clerk’s offices). Request application materials from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, 536 S. Clark St, Chicago IL 60605.
WORLD WAR II
Battle of the Atlantic 50th Anniversary (presented by the United Kingdom to all WW II US Navy and Coast Guard Sailors who qualify who served on ships during those historic battles. Contact Lyn Burke; Carthusian Court; 12 Carthusian St.; London, England EC1M-6EB.
The 854th Spearheaders 19th reunion in Buffalo, New York, in 1994 received citations right from the top, starting with President Bill Clinton. They received proclamations and greetings from the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Air Force and Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers. Commendations and congratulations were received from New York's governor, senators and representatives. Their reunion week was proclaimed The 854th Spearheaders Week for the unit’s outstanding achievements.
James E. Bethell, Springfield, Virginia, 854th reunion organizer, was busy months in advance sending brief, cogent information and requests for reunion greetings. His persistence paid off.
Prisoner of War Certificate of Captivity from the Prisoner of War Information System (POW-IS). Stephen Stofko, 703-878-7882; email@example.com.
Korean War Service Medals
If you haven’t received your Korean War Service Medal, contact Major Kwon, Korean Embassy, 2450 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20008; 202-939-6484.
MORE WAYS TO HONOR YOUR REUNION - HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS
Immigrant Wall of Honor
Due to overwhelming interest, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is reopening registration for The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®. The memorial, a tribute to the “Peopling of America®,” currently contains the names of over 500,000 individuals and families honored by their descendants. Proceeds from this new section of The Wall will help fund creation of The American Family Immigration History Center where families will be able to document ancestor’s immigration through Ellis Island. New submissions will be added to the wall by the end of 1998. In addition to restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and their museums, other additions include an expanded Oral History Studio, Children’s Visitor Center and the Immigrant’s Living Theatre. Contact The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc, PO Box ELLIS, New York NY 10163; 212-883-1986.
The Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy offers membership to persons who have as much as 1/16 blood degree and don’t belong to another tribe. This is not limited to Cherokee but includes persons of any Indian heritage. For information, write the Confederacy, National Tribal Office, Rt. 4, Box 120, Albany GA 31705.
More Cherokee heritage
In 1998 the First Family of the Cherokee Nation began recognizing descendants of Cherokee Nation inhabitants occupying the area before the Trail of Tears. There are two ways to become a member. The first is to have a tribal membership card, fill out required paperwork showing ancestry to 1838, and submit a $25 lifetime membership fee. The second (for those not of Cherokee blood) must prove their ancestors were legal Cherokee Nation occupants. Contact Kathy Harmon, First Families of the Cherokee Nation, c/o Cherokee Heritage Center, PO Box 515, Tahlequah OK 74465; 888-999-6007.
A Tribute to our Enslaved Ancestors is an ongoing photo collection project by The International Society of Sons and Daughter of Slave Ancestry (ISDSA) as part of its effort to document and preserve slave genealogy. Photos of slave ancestors born before 1865 will initially be in on exhibit at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, Chicago, Illinois. The exhibit will grow with additional submissions. Do not send originals; submissions will not be returned. Contact ISDSA, PO Box 436937, Chicago IL 60643-6937; ISDSA@aol.com.
African Middle Passage ceremony
On July 3, 1999, during a ceremonial event at sea, a monument honoring the millions of men, women, and children who lost their lives enroute to and at the hands of slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries will be lowered into the Atlantic Ocean's Middle Passage, perhaps never to be seen again. Six replicas of the monument will be created for placement on land in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North and South America.
The Honorable Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has endorsed the project, describing it as an opportunity to help broaden the understanding of African cultures and the heritage of people of African descent.
The ships for the Monument Site depart Manhattan June 26, 1999. Related events will take place in New York City starting June 19th, enabling everyone to play an integral role in this once-in-a-lifetime salute to our great ancestors.
On July 3, 1999, the monument will be lowered and spirits lifted.