Sons of the American Revolution

The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) is a historical, educational, and patriotic non-profit corporation that seeks to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom:

  • an appreciation for true patriotism
  • a respect for our national symbols
  • the value of American citizenship
  • the unifying force of e pluribus unum that has created, from the people of many nations, one nation and one people.

We do this by perpetuating the stories of patriotism, courage, sacrifice, tragedy, and triumph of the men who achieved the independence of the American people in the belief that these stories are universal ones of man's eternal struggle against tyranny, relevant to all time, and will inspire and strengthen each succeeding generation as it too is called upon to defend our freedoms on the battlefield and in our public institutions.

One of the most important stories to the world and to America is that of the shot fired at Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775. It gave birth to the American Revolution and is eloquently described by Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose grandfather was there:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

That shot was the bold challenge of the New World to the Old World. It heralded the beginning of the end of the old order, a world where servility to a hereditary monarch, class, privilege, and family connection were everything and no man could acquire land or wealth unless he was born to it. The shot ushered in Novus Ordo Seclorum - a "new order of the ages", an era in which the common man, freed from the limitations of the old order and restricted only by his ability, crossed the Atlantic for the opportunities beckoning in America's wilderness, her cities and towns and became an American citizen.

In the next two hundred years these freedoms would be expanded and untold millions of men, women, and children from all the continents and corners of the earth would cross the world's oceans and come to American in search of a better life and to play their role in the American experiment born on Concord Bridge on April 19,1775. The shot fired by the embattled farmers has not lost its power, today it echoes and reverberates in the hearts and minds of men and women in Tiananmen Square, the dictatorships of Africa, Asia, eastern Europe, and the middle east, and wherever people yearn to be free.

The Origins of the SAR: In 1876 there were many celebrations to commemorate the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. As part of this patriotic fervor, a group of men in the San Francisco, California, area who were descendants of patriots involved in the American Revolution, formed an organization called the Sons of Revolutionary Sires. Their objective was to have a fraternal and civic society to salute those men and women who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the battle for independence from Great Britain. They desired to keep alive their ancestors' story of patriotism and courage in the belief that it is a universal one of man's struggle against tyranny -- a story which would inspire and sustain succeeding generations when they would have to defend and extend our freedoms.

Out of the Sires grew the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, which was organized on April 30, 1889 -- the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as our nation's first President. We have used the acronym SAR to identify ourselves for over 100 years. The SAR was conceived as a fraternal and civic society composed of lineal descendants of the men who wintered at Valley forge, signed the Declaration of Independence, fought in the battles of the American Revolution, served in the Continental Congress, or otherwise supported the cause of American Independence. The National Society was chartered by an Act of the United States Congress on June 6, 1906. The charter was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member of the SAR. The charter authorizes the granting of charters to societies of the various states and territories and authorizes the state societies to charter chapters within their borders.

Federal Legislation that established a federal charter for the National Society SAR.

Membership: Today the SAR consists of 26,000 members in over 470 chapters in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Almost 150,000 descendants of men and women Patriots have been admitted since our founding. SAR members include fourteen presidents of the United States, Brigadier, Lieutenant and five star generals, presidents of several colleges and universities, ambassadors, and members of the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Congress. Members include small businessmen, doctors, lawyers, school teachers, CPAs, elected local, state, and federal officials, and government employees, all of whom have a deep affection for America its heritage and institutions. SAR members answered their country's call in every major American conflict beginning with the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 up to the present, including Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia and the current actions in Afganistan and Iraq. SAR members have received the highest awards America can bestow, including the Medal of Honor.

Governance: The affairs of the Society are managed by National Trustees (one each from the several State Societies and International Societies), 15 Regional Vice-Presidents and 10 National (General) Officers. Each year these men meet several times at National Headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky to conduct business. Delegates from all state societies also meet each year for a multi-day session in a different city for an Annual Congress. Over 60 Committees made up of scores of members also meet regularly to discuss, plan and act to achieve the Society's objectives.

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