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From father to son

First slide

Students prayed for peace, the United States and the country's leaders during St. Veronica School's annual 9/11 commemoration last Friday in Chantilly. The somber event, which took place following the school's morning Mass, was paired with a unique one: the induction of Father Edward C. Hathaway, pastor of St. Veronica Parish, into the Virginia Sons of the American Revolution's Fairfax Resolves Chapter.

To earn his membership in this elite group, Father Hathaway researched his lineage, discovering that his great-great-great-grandfather, Erastus Hathaway, born Aug. 27, 1760, served four tours in the Revolutionary War. Erastus, the ninth of 12 children, first fought at the age of 16.

The ceremony was a good opportunity to remind the students and himself of the importance of the virtue of patriotism, he said. On the day before the 9/11 anniversary, he reminded them to pray for peace and for the ability to forgive.

The poignancy of being inducted into a patriotic society so close to the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks was not lost on the priest.

"It renews my love for the county and my gratitude for the men and women who made the blessings we enjoy possible," he said.

John "Jack" E. Sweeney, president of the Fairfax Resolves Chapter, officially inducted Father Hathaway, presenting him with a certificate and a pin. Three other members of the chapter, including two in colonial uniform, were on hand to welcome Father Hathaway into their ranks.

Sons of the American Revolution must be directly descended from "someone who aided the cause of independence" - not necessarily someone who fought, according to information from the organization. The Fairfax Resolves Chapter, in particular, emphasizes service and community.

Father Hathaway said he became interested in his genealogy in the past 10 years, looking up his ancestors in the Daughters of the American Revolution library. Because many Hathaways already had been traced, once he found his father, he discovered the whole line leading back to England.

Making this discovery gave history special meaning for Father Hathaway, and he was excited to share his findings with the school's students.

"It does really bring it alive," he said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2010