Compatriots of the Army of Tennessee,
I would like to thank each of you for allowing me to serve you during the past year and half as the Commander for the Army of Tennessee, the largest Army in the Confederation. What makes the AoT the "Best"? That's easy, Each of You. From banks of Lake Michigan to the warm beaches of Key West and everywhere in between, we are constantly at work doing what the "Charge" tells us to do; Defending the Confederate Soldier's name, Guarding his history, and Perpetuating the principles that he loved. In fact, by following these principles has allowed us just this past year to re-activate the Os' Confederados Camp #1653 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This growth that we have had can only be credited to each member of each camp in every division. Let us keep up the good work.
I have been a member of the SCV many years now and it seems as if it was just yesterday that I decided to become more involved and become more than just a dues paying member. Looking back as they say with "hindsight being 20/20" I wish I had made that decision years sooner. I guess that's what happens when you are doing something that you love to do. I am 100% committed to our organization and I am looking forward to the many years that I have left to grow with you and more than ever to the next 4 years of the Sesquicentennial of the War.
It is with the hope of the future that I would like to offer my name so that I might serve you as "YOUR" Army of Tennessee Commander, once again. I am a Life member of the SCV and I have held offices at the camp level as Adjutant, 2nd Lt. Commander, 1st Lt. Commander and Commander which during my time the Hobbs Camp won both National Camp of the year and Historical project of the year awards. On the Division level as NE Brigade Commander, Alabama Division 1st Lt Commander, Alabama Division Commander, at the National level as Deputy Chief of Staff, Army of Tennessee Councilman and as Army Commander the past year and a half. It was also my great honor to have been awarded the General Robert E. Lee Gold Medal at this past convention in Montgomery. I was truly humbled by this award.
In serving you on the GEC, I have looked only to what is best for the Army of Tennessee and the SCV as a whole. I have always enjoyed the opportunity to come to your Division reunions and other events held by the camps each year from Memorial services to Lee/Jackson Banquets. I have always attempted to assist you in whatever problems you have ran into and always been honest with each of you when asked what I thought. I will continue to work for "YOU" if I am honored to get re-elected to the honorable position as Army of Tennessee Commander. I must admit that there have been many times when I have wondered what in the world have I gotten myself into, but the things that test us the most only make us a better person and leader.
As we head into the next 4 years of our Sesquicentennial, the SCV has entered into the surge for our newest goal with the formation of the project "Vision 2016". We need your help in making this project's goals come to life. With the view into the future of 50,000 members by the year 2016, we must all be out on the battlefront making sure that the truth about our ancestors is being told and bringing in every new member that we can. In return we must be prepared for an assault like we have never seen before. Our organization will be made out to be the most evil and radical of associations on the face of the earth. I personally saw this first hand during the planning and during the Montgomery event this past February and we must be prepared for whatever our opponents can throw at us. We must stand up to them as our ancestors stood up to the Federal Government and say "Enough is Enough" and must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves and our history.
If we as members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will do as our ancestors taught us, Love and Honor thy God, Love and Protect our Families and Respect our fellow man. Quoting Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, "You may be whatever you resolve to be", and this is the men that we have resolved to be. I thank each of you for your love and support over the years and I cherish your friendship and support in the years to come.
I hope to see each of you at the 2012 Reunion in Murfreesboro, TN and I look forward to your support as I run for a second term as "YOUR" AoT Commander.
In Service to the AoT and the South, I remain,
Thos. "Tom" V. Strain Jr.
Army of Tennessee
Sons of Confederate Veterans