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Reflections on the Steuben Centennial Celebration at West Point

by Daniel Schwarz The Gala was a formal dinner ety welcomed the guests and in-

The Steuben Society of Amer- celebration with Steubenites from troduced Pastor Deborah Hafner
ica celebrated its Centennial Steuben units from all over the DeWinter for the invocation. This
Founding Day on Sunday, May United States. Over 170 members followed by a toast from the Steu-

19 with a formal Gala in the beau- and dignitaries came from states ben Society National Chairman

tiful West Point Club at the U.S. such as: CT, NJ, PA, FL, NM, Robert Land. He introduced the

Military Academy in West Point, TX, and of course the home base two dignitaries that were to speak

NY. of the National Council, NY. and highlighted some of their dis-

I’ve heard that when two Ger- Even the newly formed Samuel tinguished credentials.

mans meet, they shake hands, and Helm Unit 144 of Buffalo, NY, Major General Donald E.

when three or more meet they was represented by Paul and Jackson, Jr., Deputy to the In-

start a club (Verein). Joking aside, Cathy Jones, and Dan and Louise spector General Army, Pentagon,

that is exactly what happened on Schwarz. Washington, DC, spoke about the

May 19, 1919 at The Kömpel The afternoon affair was fes- United States Army, its present

House in Manhattan, New York tive with the Master of Ceremo- abilities, readiness, and proud

City. nies Randall J. Ratje, Esq. past heritage. He called Baron von

This founding of the society national chairman welcoming the Steuben “the Architect of the U.S.

was after WWI when former Ger- guests, dignitaries, and starting Army” as he was the Inspector

man-American Alliance members the event with the patriotic Pre- General under General George From left to right are: Robert Land, Carol Ann Fischer, Michael

established the Steuben Society sentation of the Colors by the Washington. Steuben established Breuer, Lt. Col. of the German Army, Liaison at West Point, Cadet

as an educational, fraternal, so- West Point Drill Team. Then “Standards and Training” that James E. Pontius, Randall J. Ratje, Major General Donald E.

cial, and patriotic organization of singing of the National Anthems Major General Jackson said was Jackson, Jr., and Col. Mark Gagnon (1990 Steuben Award

proud American citizens of Ger- of the Federal Republic of Ger- and still is the basis of military recipient).

man descent. They named the so- many and The United States of training and tactics today.
ciety in honor and America with music by Gregory Boris Ruge, Minister/Deputy ing thanks to all of the attendees mann, Barbara DeOliveira, and of
commemoration of the German and the Mountain Brauhaus Band, Chief of Mission – Embassy of for coming and for their support course Bob and Elyse Land.
Baron Friedrich von Steuben who later performed for dancing the Fed. Rep. of Germany in of the society. As a further pleasure and hon-

(1730-1794), who was a Major and listening during the entire af- Washington, DC, spoke about the Then the Steuben annual or, I met and spoke with Ilse
importance of the ally relation- award of a plaque with crossed Hoffmann, long time dedicated
General of the American Conti- ternoon.
nental Army during the American The Centennial chairlady, ship between Germany and the swords was presented for excel- Steuben member, officer and Na-
Revolution, which was com- who should really be called the U.S. This was followed by Chair- lence in German language and tional Council Secretary. If any-
manded by General George Queen of the Society for long man Land recognizing many of culture studies to Cadet James E. one can be considered the heart
dedication and work for the soci- the unit officers present and giv- Pontius, West Point Cadet class and soul of the Steuben Society it
Washington. of 2019. (see photo above) would be her. She spoke to me

The remaining social hour about the history of the Society

was enjoyed with music enter- and reminded me of the Society’s

tainment, dancing, and meeting credo: “Duty, Justice, Tolerance,

fellow Steubenites. I had the plea- and Freedom.” Her enthusiasm of

sure to see several Steuben the Steuben Society and pride of

friends that came to Buffalo to being an American citizen of Ger-

celebrate with us for the 5th anni- man descent gave me encourage-

versary of our Samuel Helm Unit ment that all is good in our

144 last June 2018. This included: country and the Steuben Society.

Margita “Margo” Collins, Phyllis Any questions, comments,

Kunz, Carol Ann and Eddie Fish- contact Dan at

er, Marilyn and Charles Luh- Lou1Dan2@aol.com
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