Hocking Valley Stands Vigil – Alexandria, VA
Photo: Jeff Walt, second from left, and Bob Hill, fourth from left, stand with their SAR compatriots in front of Washington’s Tomb.
Three compatriots from the Hocking Valley Chapter represented the Ohio Society at this year’s Washington’s Tomb Vigil. A total of 10 SAR compatriots from North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania met on Saturday, Sept. 17th at the Mount Vernon estate. Two SAR guardsmen were scheduled every half hour beginning at 9:00 am. The day was fairly hot and humid.
Compatriot Bob Hill carpooled with compatriot Jeff Walt and wife Debra for a 10:00 am guard mount. Compatriot Matt Hardman drove down with wife Sharon for an afternoon shift. However, as Bob and Jeff were heading back for a second turn on a noon guard mount, they learned that North Carolina Compatriot Ron Bonham had fainted at his post, falling flat on his face and losing some teeth (he required 31 stitches). His wife also fainted and ambulances were called for both (last word is they are recovering nicely).
Compatriot George K. Strunk of the North Carolina Society was serving as Guard Commander and handled the situation with great calm, but decided to cancel the rest of the day’s vigil. George asked his Ohio compatriots to go ahead and mount a guard when Matt arrived in the afternoon. This they did with the kind permission of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
The compatriots enjoyed touring the estate and taking a boat ride from the wharf on the Potomac River. Attendance from the public was in the thousands all day long and many tourists asked the compatriots to pose for pictures with them. Despite the heat and concern for their injured compatriot, it was an enjoyable experience and an honor to take part in this yearly vigil.
The next day, Bob, Jeff, and Debra drove down to Light Horse Harry Lee’s estate at Stratford Hall, about 50 miles away, before heading back home to Ohio.