DATE: October 13, 2004
TO: NBC NEWS
Attn: Mr. Gordon Tokumatsu
FOR: Veteran's Day, November 11, 2004, 2:00 PM.
LOCATION: St. Mary's and Ventura Cemetery, one mile east of the Mission of San Buenaventura on Main Street.
CONTACT: J. Stephen Hurst, President
Patton Chapter, SAR
STEVEN SCHLEDER TO RECEIVE BRONZE MEDAL
FROM SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
President J. Stephen Hurst announced today that the General George S. Patton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will bestow the Bronze Good Citizenship Award on historical preservationist Steven Schleder for his work in founding the Restore St. Mary's Cemetery movement.
Mr. Schleder has researched the history of the cemetery desecration, the subsequent treatment of the grounds, has made several association presentations, and has established a web site disseminating information about the project. His web site, www.restorestmarys.org, also includes the list of the 3,000+ Catholics, Protestants, Chinese, Jewish and Chumash people buried in the cemetery located between Main and Poli Streets, one mile east of the Mission San Buenaventura.
Last Memorial Day, Schleder organized and funded an historical 1893 funeral procession re-enactment, complete with a 6-horse team military caisson, Confederate and Union troops, and a black powder canon salute to honor Major General William Vandever, war veterans and all the people buried at what is now called Cemetery Park or Memorial Park. Another procession is scheduled for this coming Veteran's Day, Thursday, November 11, 2004 at 12:00 noon. The historical funeral procession re-enactment will run from Mission San Buenaventura, east on Main Street, to the cemetery. "Procession Honoree" will be the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient James Sumner, Company G, 1st Cavalry, who died in Ventura in 1912. Also present for the funeral procession will be "Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant." "John Calvin Brewster" and 25 other locally historic people, who are buried at the cemetery, will be re-e! nacted by the "Tale Spinners" historical group. Our Special Honorary Guest and Speaker will be Colonel Lewis Millet, Congressional MoH recipient of the Korean Conflict.
All area veterans are extended a very special invitation to join the procession as are the descendants and friends of those buried in the cemetery.
The Friends of St. Mary's Cemetery and Ventura Cemetery goals are as follows:
installing appropriate signage indicating names, historical significance, location and directions to the cemeteries; St. Mary's Cemetery (1862) and the Ventura Cemetery (1889).
determining the location of the 3,000+ deceased in the cemeteries and acknowledging them accordingly.
retrieving, to the extent possible, all historic headstones.
installing around the perimeter of the cemeteries, 24 - 1920's cast-iron street lights rescued from the City's Hall Canyon storage yard.
Mr. Schleder's 'Bronze Good Citizenship Award' will be awarded at the graveside of Congressional MoH recipient James Sumner at the Ventura Cemetery, Veteran's Day, Thursday, November 11, 2004 at 2:00 P.M. by the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution meets monthly at the historic Bard Mansion, U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, California.
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was organized on April 30, 1889, the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as the nation's first president. The original purpose of SAR was to keep alive our ancestors' stories of patriotism and courage in the belief that it is a universal story 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." The original purpose has been extended to include paying homage to veterans of every major American conflict beginning with the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 up to and including the present conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. For further information, please contact J. Stephen Hurst at www.Stephen.Hurst@morganstanley.com.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND RESEARCH:
Veteran's Day Procession Honoree MoH Private James Sumner, Company G, 1st US Cavalry, MoH for "gallantry-in-a-charge" on Oct. 20, 1869 in the Chiricahua Mts, Arizona. Awarded on Feb. 14, 1870. Cochise and the Apaches had kidnapped a white settler child in order to draw the 21 soldiers of the 1st Cavalry, Comany G into a box canyon and an ambush. A firefight from hell ensued. The Indians that weren't killed, disappeared into the hills. Two soldiers were killed. All 21 soldiers were awarded the MoH. Private James Sumner was one of them.
Veteran's Day Procession Special Guest Speaker MoH Col. Lewis Millet
, US Army (Ret.), Veteran of 3 wars. Before the US joined WWII, Col. Millet had joined the US Army. It seemed that the US was never going to fight in the European theatre, so he went AWOL and joined the Canadian military who promptly sent Col. Millet to Europe to fight. When the US finally joined the war in Europe, Col. Millet quit the Canadian forces and joined the US forces (that was possible then). Eventually court-martial papers arrived in Europe for the Colonel, but he had been promoted so many times, that the prosecution had little weight. He re-enlisted for the Korean War. The Colonel was charged by 47 N. Koreans. With his bayonet attached to his rifle, he killed 18 of the 47
. He received his MoH for this hand-to-hand combat. The military now has a special bayonet training class at Fort Levinworth named after the Colonel. ! There is a two year wait to get a MoH soldiers to participate in public parades and events. When the Colonel heard of the 3000+ desecrated graves at the St. Mary's Cemetery in San Buenaventura, CA and the oncoming restoration efforts by organizer Steve Schleder, he offered to join the Veteran's Day Procession ceremonies.
Four VFW "Color Guards" from the Ventura County will be in the procession. The Ojai VFW will attend with their famous "Veteran's Float."