DUNEDIN — The Clearwater chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution recently celebrated its 70th anniversary during its monthly luncheon recently at the Dunedin Golf Club.

The Clearwater SAR branch is one of more than 500 that comprise the international society, dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving and teaching America’s history, according to organization’s website.

The chapter, which has about 150 members, was chartered in November 1952 and has grown to be one of the largest and most successful chapters in the organization, according to President Kevin MacFarland.

“We’re dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as stated in our Declaration of Independence,” McFarland said prior to the start of the meeting. “Our purpose is to have people know our history and what America was founded on, but we’re also about having fun and being a great family.”

Harry Fuller, the chapter’s second vice president, noted SAR is “a nonprofit, non-partisan, congressionally chartered organization that was originally founded in 1889,” adding the organization is “involved in enhancing education, promoting patriotism and preserving history” through endowments, special events and scholarships. The group meets on the third Wednesday of every month except during the summer, and Fuller noted prospective members must provide “proof of lineage to ancestors of the Revolutionary war that supported the cause of American independence.”

Before the luncheon began, the group’s dedication to promoting patriotism was evident.

While waiting for the meeting to start, several members dressed in Revolutionary War-era attire chatted before the group’s Color Guard marched in and had them stand at attention for the Pledge of Allegiance, “God Bless America,” and the SAR Pledge. MacFarland stated, “Today is a special day because we’re celebrating the founding of our chapter” and its founding members, adding they were gathered to “honor the legacy and remember the contributors to our chapter and our community.”

Fuller then read a proclamation from the Pinellas County Commission, which stated in part, “The Clearwater Chapter of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution is dedicated to securing America’s future through enhanced education … promoting patriotism by honoring the service of active-duty personnel, veterans and first responders … and to preserving American history by working with other like-minded organizations to locate, protect and preserve archeological sites, such as battlefields and gravesites, as well as other historical concerns.” 

After reading some fun facts and tidbits from the past 70 years, MacFarland introduced the group’s longest-tenured member, Parks Honeywell, who after 28 years has forged strong bonds with the members.

“I’ve approved more than 258 members during my time and being associated with you men and women has been the highlight of my life,” Honeywell said after he helped cut the celebratory cake. “And finding out I was related to a patriot was the highlight of my life!”

According to MacFarland, that’s what being a part of the Sons of the American Revolution is all about.

“Some members have been here for 50-plus years, some much less, but we all stick together,” he said. “We’re one big family and we do our part because we love America.”

For more information on the Clearwater chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, visit clearwatersar.org.