A letter from the President General:

Dear Compatriots:

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly presented challenges and cancellations this year. Regretfully, the Executive Committee, pursuant to the authority granted to it by the April 17, 2020 ballot vote of the Board of Trustees, has concluded that the 2020 Annual Congress, originally scheduled for Richmond, Virginia, must be cancelled. The Executive Committee waited as long as possible to see how Virginia’s, and more specifically Richmond’s, reopening plans would impact the Annual Congress. The continuing restrictions enacted by governmental authorities concerning meetings, dining and travel, as well as the health and safety of our membership, has led the Executive Committee to conclude that holding the Annual Congress in Richmond is not possible. The Richmond Marriott, the designated Annual Congress hotel, has been informed that the Congress contract is terminated due to impossibility.

The Executive Committee understands that many State Societies and Chapters have conducted successful meetings electronically during this pandemic. The Executive Committee fully supports these efforts and encourages other State Societies and Chapters to use alternative means to continue the local recognition of our Patriot ancestors, especially as the calendar moves closer to the Fourth of July. The Executive Committee, meeting weekly since March 20, 2020, and Congress Planning Committee Chairman Paul Callanan, devoted considerable effort to researching whether a “virtual” or “Zoom” Congress would be feasible. However, Bylaw No. 17 of the Bylaws of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution does not permit the National Society to hold a Congress by “alternative means.” Therefore, the Executive Committee has reached the conclusion that there will be no Annual Congress held in 2020. This is not only consistent with what other similar organizations, such as the American Legion, have determined this year, but with our own precedent concerning both the 1918 and 1945 Annual Congresses.

No Annual Congress means there will be no election for General Officers, Vice Presidents General, Trustees, or Alternate Trustees in 2020. Pursuant to the National Society’s bylaws, the current General Officers, Vice Presidents General, Trustees, and Alternate Trustees will continue in their present positions until July 2021.

What does this mean for Districts and State Societies? As the Vice President General, Trustee and Alternate Trustee are National Society offices, the presently serving individuals will remain in office. Vacancies in these positions may be filled according to the National Society’s governing documents, however, because no election will be held in 2020, any individual filling a vacancy will not be a member of the Board of Trustees unless elected to such at the July 2019 Congress.

What does this mean for General Officer candidates? As there will be no elections in 2020, all individuals wishing to run for General Office will be required to seek nomination through the normal nominating procedure. Candidates for National Office will be permitted to announce their candidacy ten days after the 2020 Annual Congress would have ended (Saturday, July 25, 2020).

What does this mean for National Committees? Committee Chairs should submit their annual report by no later than July 1, 2020. The National Society will publish an electronic report book, available to all members on Share file, detailing the General Officer and Committee operations for 2019-2020, by the end of July 2020. Committees wishing to meet during the summer should reach out to either their General Officer liaison or the Executive Director.

What does this mean for my hotel reservation in Richmond? Congress Planning Chairman Callanan will handle canceling room reservations which are part of the SAR “block.” The Richmond Marriott or the Richmond Hilton will send out a cancellation verification email on or after June 1, 2020. If you made your own reservation using Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, another travel program or made reservations using a discounted rate (e.g. military, government, AAA, etc.), you must cancel your own reservation. Questions, concerns, difficulties with the hotel may be referred to Chairman Callanan (ltcmrsc@aol.com) who will help work the issue.

As with all of you, Sheila and I enjoy attending the Annual Congress to see our friends, participate in the youth competitions, and enjoy the fellowship with our compatriots and family. The members of the Executive Committee feel the same. Notwithstanding canceling the Annual Congress is the correct decision based on the factors outlined above. It is certainly my goal to continue moving the Sons of the American Revolution forward during the coming year. More details will be disseminated as they become available. I urge all trustees and alternate trustees to attend the virtual Trustees meeting scheduled for May 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

Jack Manning
President General
National Society Sons of the American Revolution