Flag Retirement

United State Federal Law provides that, The Flag, when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (36 U.S.C. 176(k))

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On a week ending with heavy rains and constant clouds the sky opened up with seemingly Divine intervention long enough for the Color Guard of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa to join with citizens, guests and active members of the Des Moines Park and Recreation Department to perform the sacred duties of retiring nearly 2700 unserviceable American flags.

Ganesh Ganpat, Hannah Champeau, & Mike Rowley

Ganesh Ganpat, Hannah Champeau, & Mike Rowley

On October 7, 2017, utilizing the materials built by GSW 1812 Iowa Past President Louie Zenti and a special forged tool, hand made by a veteran in Michigan and supplied by Ganesh Ganpat;   GSW 1812 Iowa President Mike Rowley open the ceremony with borrowed passages from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War when he stated,

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“We have presented here these flags of our country which have been inspected and condemned as unserviceable. They have reached their present state in a proper service of tribute, memory and love.

“A flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of the finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great: but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol that our dear country stands for; a free nation of free men and women, true to the faith of the past, and devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.

“It represents all that our brothers and sisters and our nation’s defenders in all conflicts lived for, sacrificed for and died for.

“Let these faded flags of our country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places taken by bright new flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier, sailor or airmen and women dead be unhonored and unmarked.”

Special thanks to Hannah Champeau, Field Coordinator, and Ganesh Ganpat, Supervisor of Des Moines Park and Recreation, for their assistance without which the program would not have been possible.

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Submitted by Mike Rowley

Camp Dodge Memorial Day 2017

On Memorial Day 2017, Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa President, Mike Rowley, and the Iowa Color Guard greeted nearly 3000 visitors to Camp Dodge, the State Headquarters for the Iowa National Guard.
Each year on Memorial Day the Camp opens the Gold Star Museum to the public and serves as the location to broadcast the popular Van & Bonnie show on WHO Radio from 5:00am-9:00am.
Governor Kim Reynolds & Mike Rowley at Camp Dodge

Governor Kim Reynolds & Mike Rowley at the Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge

This year President Rowley was honored to stand with newly installed Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to support the men, women and families of those who have served and sacrificed for all generations.

Christian Sowerwine

It started with a letter to Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa President, Mike Rowley, from Harold Nevenhoven at the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery in Brooklyn, Iowa.  Nevenhoven had been given a link to our website listing the War of 1812 veterans who had lived in Iowa.  He noted the name Christian Sowerwine was on our list of veterans, but did not have a proper headstone.  Nevenhoven had ordered the headstone from the VA and now had it in his possession and was going to install it.  Would the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa help with a proper dedication ceremony?

Mike Rowley stands guard above the grave of Christian Sowerwine

Mike Rowley stands guard above the grave of Christian Sowerwine

Rowley put a call out to the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War asking for assistance.  It all came together on Saturday afternoon, May 27, 2017, at the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery.

Alan Wenger, Mike Rowley and Dan Rittel act as Color Guard

Alan Wenger, Mike Rowley and Dan Rittel act as Color Guard

Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa members Rowley, Alan Wenger (also representing the Sons of the American Revolution), Danny Krock and Dan Rittel (both also representing the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War) along with members of the Brooklyn American Legion Post conducted a proper dedication ceremony for Christian Sowerwine’s new headstone.

Ceremony for Christian Sowerwine

Ceremony for Christian Sowerwine

 Christian Sowerwine was born July 7, 1793, in Rockingham County, Virginia.  He served in the 4th regiment of the Virginia Militia.  In about 1834 or 1835, Christian and his brother John moved to Indiana.  Four of their children were probably born in Cross Roads, Delaware County, Indiana.  Christian’s first wife, Maria Good, died January 1838, in Indiana leaving him with nine children to raise.

Christian married Catherine Semer July 4, 1839, in Henry County, Indiana.  She brought along her step-son Michael and her three daughters into a household that already had nine children.  Quickly three more sons were added to their brood.  Catherine died in 1852 and is buried in Indiana.  He and his family moved to Iowa in 1856.  At Brooklyn he farmed north of Brooklyn and operated a blacksmith shop.

At the time of the Civil War the Sowerwines offered their services.  John, Jacob, Isaac and George served with the Union Army along with son-in-law James Maddy.  Daughter Sarah’s husband, Michael Miller, served with the Confederate Army.  John Sowerwine proved disqualified because of a crippled arm.  Nevertheless, he served as a guard in the San Francisco harbor during the period of hostilities.  Jacob Sowerwine was killed in the Civil War May 1, 1863 in Port Gibson, MS.

Group photo of participants after the ceremony

Group photo of participants after the ceremony

 

Cemetery Appreciation Month

General Society of the War of 1812  In The State Of Iowa President Mike Rowley joined with members of the State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries (SAPIC) at the signing of the Proclamation to declare May as “Cemetery Appreciation Month” by Iowa Governor and United States Ambassador to China nominee Terry Branstad.

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President Rowley (far left in the photos) shared with the Governor the fact that members of the Iowa Society have documented nearly 900 veterans of the War of 1812 that are buried in the State of Iowa.

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Photos by Chance McElhaney

Musket Fire

Each year members of the Iowa Military Heritage Society meet in the southern part of the state to hone their skills live firing weapons of all era’s.  A few Iowa Society of the War of 1812 members also belong to the Iowa Military Heritage Society.

Iowa Society of the War of 1912 Past President Louie Zenti

Iowa Society of the War of 1812 Past President Louie Zenti

Members qualified with a flint lock weapon of the Revolutionary War era as well as muskets from the Civil War era at both 50 and 100 yards.

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After the formal morning session attendees had the opportunity for training and practice with the M1 Garand rifle of WWII era.

Iowa Military Heritage Society

Iowa Military Heritage Society

Iowa Military Heritage Society members pictured above: (back row) Jim Braden, Dave Sample, Richard Grim, David Lamb, Ron Rittel, (front row) Jeff Rassmussen, Louie Zenti, Mike Rowley.

 

2014-2016 Iowa Society President Elected

Congratulations to Mike Rowley and Tim Rowley!

Mike was elected President of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa at the Fall Meeting held in Des Moines this past weekend.  In addition, Tim was elected Vice-President. They shall serve the 2014-2016 term.

Other officers remained the same:

  • Secretary/Treasurer – Mike Rowley
  • Registrar – Mike Rowley
  • Historian – Ron Rittel
  • Chaplain – Ron Sharp
  • Chancellor – Lance Ehmcke

Fall Meeting Information

The Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa will be having a joint meeting with the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

Location:
Bennigan’s Restaurant
Holiday Inn and Suites
4800 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, Iowa

Time:
The meeting will begin with lunch at 11:30 am.

Lunch will be ordered off the menu. In order to prepare for enough seating, please R.S.V.P. Volney Smith by Wednesday, October 15th, if possible. See contact information in the letter below (click letter for larger image).

SAR and GSW 1812 Iowa Fall meeting

 

Notice of Upcoming Joint Meeting

The Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa will be having a joint meeting with the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution on Saturday, October 18, 2014. More details to follow.

At that time the Society will be having an election for officers.

2013 Annual Meeting (Iowa)

The GS of the War of 1812 in Iowa will be having our Annual Meeting in conjunction with the Iowa Sons of the American Revolution once again.

Date: Saturday June 15, 2013
Time: 1:30-3:00
Where: Urbandale Public Library (Meeting Room B)

Address:
Urbandale Public Library
3520 86th St.
Urbandale, Iowa 50322