Throwback Thursday: A Letter from the Commander, Department of Missouri, SUVCW (#1)

I was elected Commander of the Department of Missouri, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, for the 2016-2017 administrative year and re-elected for the 2017-2018 administrative year. As part of my responsibilities, I wrote a letter to the Department every quarter which was published in the Department’s newsletter, The Missouri Unionist. Below is the first such letter.

22 Jun 2016

Brothers of the Department of Missouri,

I am honored and privileged to be entrusted with the office of Commander of our Department. Your commitment to perpetuating the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the men who saved the Union 1861 to 1865 is great and on display with every issue of the Missouri Unionist which chronicles those activities on a quarterly basis. Along with perpetuating the memory of the boys in blue, our resolve in furthering the other purposes and objects set forth in Article II of our National Constitution is also evident in the activities of camps and officers within our Department: locating and preserving records pertaining to the GAR and its members, honoring our veterans of every war, teaching patriotism, citizenship, and honor—and all while operating in the spirit of Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.

We have a lot going for us as a department of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Special Committees are in place, planning: monument and marker restorations and a rededication, joint activities with the Allied Orders, and a National Encampment in 2019 here in our own Branson, Missouri. The website is being updated with the historical records so diligently gathered and researched over the years. Our thirteen camps in Missouri and Arkansas have and will continue to perform the community outreach so essential to accomplishing our stated purposes. We are a brotherhood, united in our love of country, in our understanding of history, and in our belief of a people united under a just and representative government.

We have passed the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, and thus can expect to experience the lull following the excitement of any great endeavor. We commemorated this anniversary well, and as PDC Martin Aubuchon said, we have the creativity and ingenuity to continue our work, opportunities limited only by our imaginations and our devotion to the cause. We also have a couple new anniversaries to consider. This calendar year (2016) includes the 150th anniversary of the establishment of our predecessor, the Grand Army of the Republic. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the reorganization of the Department of Missouri. And as these occasions pass, we will continue to find opportunities for remembrance and for action. We must keep the fire burning, and keep recruiting youthful descendants who will pick up the torch as those of previous generations finish their watch.

Every member of every camp is important; every living history, public lecture, and grave dedication furthers our mission. Those presentations of ROTC and Eagle Scout Awards remind others of the sacrifices of the past and promise of the future. We are not still fighting the War; we are ensuring it will never be fought again. God bless this Union and those who strive to keep it.

In F, C, &L,

Randal A. Burd, Jr., PCC
Commander, Department of Missouri

If you would like to honor your Union ancestor(s) by joining The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (or any of our Allied Orders), I will help document your lineage and an ancestor’s service free of charge and guide you through the simple process of joining the nearest camp / tent in your area. E-mail me at raburdjr at gmail dot com.