About the NESSAR Color Guard
The Nebraska Society Sons of the American Revolution (NESSAR) Color Guard is a volunteer activity for members of the Omaha and Lincoln Chapters of the SAR. These compatriots attend both SAR and community events properly attired as Continental Army soldiers, Militiamen, or Revolution-era clergy.
The SAR Color Guard seeks to visibly promote the stated objectives of the National SAR, which is to be Historical, Patriotic, and Educational. Every time the SAR Color Guard makes a public appearance, the members fulfill all 3 objectives.
In fact, the Omaha SAR Color Guard is one of the most visible and effective public relations tools available to the Sons of the American Revolution!
The Color Guard in History
The Color Guard of the 21st century is primarily ceremonial in terms of purpose and duty. However, the origins of the Color Guard are based in military practicality. The following is a concise history of the origin of the Color Guard.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, flags were commonly referred to as “the Colors.” These colors were of primary importance to the military regiment or brigade as the line of battle was formed around the colors of the unit which were placed at the center of the line. These colors were easily seen through the smoke of battle. If the colors advanced, the line would advance. If the colors retired, the line would retire. As battles would progress and casualties mounted, the line would contract to the colors. In effect, the colors would serve as a rallying point if the line was broken or the men became dispersed. Thus, success in battle was often dependent on the handling of the colors.
The importance of the colors was so significant that a ceremony was performed before battle called “The Trooping of the Colors.” The men of the regiment or brigade were assembled on the parade ground in camp and the colors were paraded before them. This way, each man would see and thus be certain of his colors before taking the field of battle.
Likewise, while there could be many diverse objectives in a battle, one of the most important was capturing of the colors of the enemy unit. This would deprive the enemy of their primary means of control and rallying point during the battle. To prevent this, regiments and brigades would select the most valiant men to protect the colors and color bearer. These men comprised the “Color’s Guard,” a posting of great honor and source of pride. As in years past, this posting continues to be a position of honor.
Formation of a Color Guard Unit
The optimum minimum number of men that form a Color Guard unit consists of four (4) men:
- Two (2) Color Bearers who carry the United States National Flag and the State or SAR Flag;
- Two (2) Musketeers or Riflemen who escort the Color Bearers.
(It is understood that many state and chapter Color Guards do not have Musketeers or Riflemen.)
A Color Guard may consist of a minimum of three (3) members with at least one Musketeer or Rifleman marching to the right of the National Colors. The left side of the National Colors should be covered either by a second Musketeer or Rifleman or another Color Bearer who would carry another flag (most often the state flag).
In either situation, the Commander of the Color Guard will either be the Musketeer guarding the National Colors or the Guardsman carrying the National Colors. As the Color Guard grows, the Commander will march ahead of the National Colors separate from any other rank.
In general, items such as uniforms and uniform accessories are purchased by the individual Color Guardsman. In the SAR Color Guard, we permit both Continental and Militia uniforms.
Continental Army Uniform. The first and most recognizable uniform is the Continental Army uniform. The men are typically uniformed in the familiar tricorn hat, blue coat and knee breeches or fall-front trousers identified with the soldiers of the regular army during the Revolution.
The second type is the Militia uniform. There is no set uniform associated with the Militia. As in the time of the Revolution, the Militia consisted of everyday men who wore the clothes that they wore in normal everyday activity when called to service. As such, there is more leeway in the type of clothing that the Militia Color Guard wears.
With respect to the uniform that is worn, many Color Guardsmen choose to wear a uniform similar to that worn by their patriot ancestor(s). However, this requires that the Color Guard member have performed the necessary research to determine the details of the uniform. This is necessary since, while the blue coat was predominate, the coat could have a different facing color on the cuffs and collar, depending where the soldier was from and the hat could vary from unit to unit.
With respect to the Continental uniform, the basic uniform consists of the following:
- A tricorn hat;
- A blue coat with either a buff, red or white facing and trim;
- White shirt and waistcoat;
- White or buff knee britches or fall-front trousers;
- Buckle shoes;
- A pair of white gloves.
With respect to the Militia uniform, the basic uniform consists of the following:
- A hat – either tricorn or round;
- A hunting shirt;
- A white or checkered shirt;
- Long britches or fall-front trousers;
- Shoes (not necessarily buckle since the long pants leg will cover the buckle area).
While these are the basics for each uniform, variations will exist and participation will not be discouraged based on these variations.
Join the Omaha SAR Color Guard Today!
My name is Chad Sherrets and I am organizing the Omaha SAR Color Guard.
In 2015, the Omaha dn Lincoln Chapters agreed to form a Color Guard units as many other chapters around the United States have. Combined, the Chapter units form the NESSAR Color Guard. We plan to participate in events such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, award presentations, and educational presentations to students and scouts.
If you are interested in joining us in this fun activity, feel free to contact us at either email address below.
Omaha SAR Color Guard Captain
NESSAR Color Guard Commander
Lincoln SAR Color Guard Captain
Omaha SAR Color Guard Links