Honoring Revolutionary War Heroes - TribPapers

Honoring Revolutionary War Heroes

A musket salute was preformed at the ceremony. Photo by Clint Parker

Leicester – On a recent breezy, partly cloudy Saturday morning (April 27th), close to a hundred people were gathered at the Newfound Baptist Church graveyard to pay honors to five Revolutionary soldiers buried there.

The grave marking celebration was sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and attended by numerous chapters of their organization as well as chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), as well as members of the patriots who were being honored, families, and members of the community. 

Who were these Revolutionary War Patriots? Well, they came from all over but eventually ended up in the same area and the same graveyard. According to one speaker, it is a miracle to find one patriot in a mountain graveyard, much less five in one. They are Joseph Cole, Joseph Harrison, John Hays, Peter Plemons, and Valentine Thrash, who were all privates.

During the Revolutionary War, soldiers faced an array of formidable hardships throughout their service. Enduring brutal winters with scant provisions,  they battled not only the enemy but also hunger, disease, and exposure. Often ill-equipped and inadequately trained, they confronted the harsh realities of combat with unwavering resolve. Forced to endure long marches over treacherous terrain, they faced the constant threat of ambushes and skirmishes, their bodies weary but their spirits unbroken. In  makeshift camps, they endured cramped quarters, unsanitary conditions,  and the constant specter of illness, with diseases such as dysentery and smallpox claiming many lives. 

Despite these immense challenges, their dedication to the cause of liberty and their unwavering commitment to freedom fueled their perseverance, cementing their place as enduring symbols of courage and sacrifice in the annals of history. These were not the summer soldiers or sunshine patriots in these graves; they were the men who gave us a country. 

The ceremony started with the Blue Ridge Chapter Color Guard of the SAR presenting flags, everything from today’s American, North Carolina, and Tennessee Flags to Revolutionary War Flags. Rev. Thomas Rightmyer, Blue Ridge Chapter Chaplin, gave an invocation followed by the pledge to the American Flag and the SAR pledge, The American Creed, and the posting of Colors.

Welcome and greetings to all were given by Mountian Region VP NCSSAR Craig Isaacson, with Compatriot Ron Chapman reading the poem “On Hollowed Ground” with honors to each of the five soldiers being given by a member of the SAR or a family member.

Steve Greene and Win Webster, both chapter presidents, held the commemoration ceremony and rendering of honors, which included each of the affiliated chapters’ members present coming forward and either tipping their hat, bowing gently, or presenting their period-correct firearm.

A musket squad presents a musket salute as smoke fills the air; the crowd’s mood is somber, indicating the occupation. This was followed by the playing of “Taps,” SAR recessional, benediction, and retiring of the colors to end the ceremony.