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Eleven courthouse chimes mark 100th anniversary of World War I’s end



Veteran’s Day 2018 marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I begins in Front Royal, as it did across the nation, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the date and time when the armistice ended the most horrific war mankind at the time had experienced. Photos/Roger Bianchini

The 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War was marked Sunday, November 11, as the Warren County Courthouse clock chimed 11 times – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – and American Legion Post 53 Vice-Commander Clarence Hartsell began a quiet, 45-minute ceremony.

A relatively small crowd of about 60 gathered in the courthouse grounds, most of them veterans. Many wore distinctive Legion caps, and others were wrapped in coats against the 45-degree weather, depicting their service of record. Despite the first cold snap of the season, skies were blue and brilliant sunshine provided some warmth for speakers and spectators alike.

The Sunday ceremony’s attendance was obviously affected by its clash with regular church services throughout the area and this year, being a Sunday observance of Veterans Day, no school bands were available.  However on this 100th anniversary of the end of the first great global conflict of the 20th Century, organizers felt it important to mark the occasion on the precise date and time of the armistice that halted a war so horrific in its modern weaponry and casualty count that it was for a short time believed to be a war that would end widespread human warfare.

For whom the bell tolls…

Commemorative wreaths were laid at memorial sites on opposite sides of the courthouse forecourt saluting town and county service personnel who’d given their lives in America’s wars, while others honored all of those who fought in World War I, the “war to end all wars.”

Appropriately, the Giles B. Cook Post 53 of the American Legion introduced U.S. Marine Corps veteran William Sealock, a Front Royal Town Councilor, whose military record included active duty in five combat zones, including those in Vietnam and the Middle East, who said he was there to honor all veterans of all wars.

Sealock described himself, born in 1944, as a “war baby”, offspring of a Gold Star mother. He came of a military family whose members served, some dying, in World War II, and in later American wars.

He revealed he was wounded on the battlefield in South Vietnam but cited one of his duties as a Marine Corps “grunt” as a career highlight – it was as a mailman for the troops during “Operation Starlight” in which 42 marines died.

Vietnam vet and Front Royal Town Councilman William Sealock recalled a personal and emotional side of the experience of war.

The mail carrier brought brief moments of joy to those caught up in the heat of battle and the soldier who delivered welcome news from home declared he had “no apology for being a ‘grunt’  performing this duty. Sealock rose through the ranks to retire as a Chief Warrant Officer and returned to civilian life as a Defense Department contractor. After serving on the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors, he was elected to Town Council in 2016. (To see and listen to Sealock’s approximately 15-minute welcoming address, guest speaker Larry Funk, and a complete video of the ceremony, go to the Royal Examiner video presentation accompanying this article)

Hartsell called for a moment’s silence for those who died in battle while guest speaker Funk, Post 53 commander, honored “every man and woman who has honorably served their country in every war since the Revolutionary War.”

A salute to those who have served as taps is sounded to bring this Veterans Day ceremony to a close.

He noted that while the “war to end all wars” – World War I – did not live up to its reputation, it did lead to the formation of the American Legion which then, and to this day, is in the business of alleviating the stresses of Americans returning from active duty. He noted that homelessness is most prevalent today among veterans and he offered a cure: employment. He asked potential employers to give major consideration to employing veterans, particularly those who have been wounded in service.

“Give them who gave us our precious freedoms a shot at the American dream,” he implored.

Among organizations represented at the 2018 annual ceremony, apart from various other officers of the American Legion, were: Jeff Cook, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1860;  Dennis Henline, Exalted Ruler, Fraternal Order of the Elks, 2382; Richard Crawford, Veteran’s Chairman, Elks, 2382; and Wayne Sealock, Governor, Lodge 829, Loyal Order of the Moose.

Opening prayer and benediction were by Cindy Kokernak while John Kokernak sounded “Taps” to end the ceremony.  This year just one dog was in attendance, Cody, accompanied by his pal Stephen Kurtz.

Giles B. Cook American Legion Post 53 Commander Larry Funk delivered the keynote address.

(Our contributing writer, Malcolm Barr Sr., is a veteran of the Royal Air Force, and his son, Malcolm  Barr Jr., is an Iraq war vet who served 10 years with the U.S. Air Force and represents a contracting company in military intelligence adjacent to Langley AFB in Virginia. Barr Sr. recollects attending every Armistice Day (now Veterans Day in the U.S.) since emigrating from the UK in 1955, often more recently with a canine companion representing the “dogs of war”)

Community Events

Shenandoah Christian Alliance gives out well deserved acknowledgements



Royal Examiner publisher Mike McCool accepts the "Defender of the Faith" award.

Several well-deserved awards were given out at this week’s Shenandoah Christian Alliance weekly breakfast meeting at the Front Royal Quality Inn.

The SCA awarded two “Defender of the Faith” Awards which are intended to recognize pastors, legislators, business leaders and outstanding individuals (mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers) that have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the Biblical principles that this country was founded on and helping bring God back to the center of our daily activities in our (government, schools, courts, families and especially churches).

First on the list was our own Mike McCool, the owner of National Media Services, Inc., and publisher of this online newspaper (Royal Examiner). Mike has been a mainstay in Front Royal in attempting to be a source of information for many of us who have an invested interest in what’s happening in our community (our schools, our government and our culture) but do not have the time or the ability to stay on top of a rapidly changing and growing community. At the same time, he offers graphic design, recording, copying and printing services… a well-earned award.

Next to receive the “Defender of the Faith” Award was Bishop Larry Johnson. Larry needs no introduction to many of our townspeople who have come to know him through his Colonial era persona “Abel Johnston… the “t” in Johnston was dropped over succeeding decades and the 5th generation version is now Johnson.

Larry is the quintessential story teller of the lives and actions of the heroes that fought for the freedom and liberty that has been the trademark of this country of more than 240 years.

As part of the wording on his award states: “And Further, for his unmatched ability to recount the times, actions and thoughts of our forefathers in speech and period dress that instantly and magically transports the listener back over 240 years to a time when this Representative Republic was being founded”. Larry is a constant voice for the heritage we’ve received and his fondest desire is to see that our children and future generations are not deprived of learning about our amazing forefathers (and mothers) and the values that under-girded their motivation and actions.

Larry’s focus, determination and actions represent the very heart of the Shenandoah Christian Alliance.

Dale Carpenter said that they have awards in the making for two of our elected state representatives and we hope to be able to make those awards in Richmond this coming week.

Also attending the meeting was Dale Corey, President of the James Wood Chapter of The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). Dale is the leader of one of the top SAR Chapters in the Commonwealth and perhaps the Eastern United States.

Dale Carpenter presented the “Outstanding Citizenship” award to two of their members (Mark Quimby and Kelly O’Neil) for their participation in the overwhelmingly successful “Colonial Dinner” held Dec 19th at the historic Wayside Inn to commemorate and honor the anniversary of the movement of George Washington and the Continental Army into Valley Forge that bitter winter in 1777.

Both Mark and Kelly have been an integral part of the ability of SCA to help bring awareness to our community of those Judeo/Christian values that were bedrock for our founders and which seem to be slipping away today in so much of our culture.

Royal Examiner’s camera was there for the award ceremony:

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Community Events

Local Celtic rockers and Irish Festival headliners ring in St. Patrick’s Eve at the Bright Box with Marie Miller



They’ve played for the President, they played after the Pope in Sydney, Australia, and now they’ll be playing just down the street. Scythian is an Irish Festival headliner and is known for its high-energy, crowd-interactive music. What is less known is that founders and front-men Alex and Dan Fedoryka grew up and live in Front Royal, Virginia. After spending 12 years on the road growing the band, the Fedorykas moved back to Front Royal to found their award-winning roots music festival – Appaloosa – hosted each Labor Day at Skyline Ranch Resort.

This March the brothers will be doing a 3,500 mile march to St. Patrick’s Day Tour which will bring them to the Bright Box Theater on St. Patrick’s Day eve – Saturday, March 16th with Front Royal native Marie Miller opening. The night will also feature a short opening set by the Armstrong School of Irish Dance at 7:30pm to get everyone in the St. Patrick’s Day mood.

Accordion and guitar player Dan Fedoryka said, “We’ve loved coming back to Front Royal after spending the better part of a decade in the DC/NOVA area growing our band. We’ve toured over a million miles and it has been great to come back to our hometown which has remained the same in all the best ways, but changed in all the right ways: we love all the new restaurants, businesses popping up – there’s a buzz in this town.

We play at Appaloosa each year, but we’ve been looking to book a show another show locally and when we found the Bright Box we penciled in our biggest night – St. Patrick’s Eve – for our home territory. We’ve stacked the bill with the talented Nashville-based – and Front Royal native – Marie Miller opening the night. You can expect to hear her driving, soulful voice backed by acoustic guitar and mandolin so be sure to come early. You may even see Irish dancers joining us on stage.”

For those who have never seen Scythian, you can watch this 60 second video to get a sense of what March 16th will be like:

  • Doors open at 7pm
  • Armstrong Irish Dancers 7:30pm
  • Marie Miller 8pm
  • Show is All-Ages
  • Get your tickets here

Scythian |

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Community Events

Students from the middle school MORE Program help support the Thermal Shelter this week



Photo and video by MORE students and Jennifer Avery, Jenspirations.

The host location for this past week was the Front Royal Presbyterian Church. One special church volunteer actually spent her birthday preparing food at the shelter and shared her birthday cake with guests!

The MORE Program (after school program for Warren County and Skyline Middle School students) took a turn preparing dinner for the shelter on one of the nights. They also decorated paper bags for the shelter guests to use for their packed lunches. Included in each bag was an inspirational note. The kids have been working on a similar project (Project Positive through the I’m Just Me Movement) for fellow students. It was great to see them realize, grownups can use a positive thought too!


Interested in donating? Donations can be sent on PayPal using or checks can be mailed to PO Box 454 Front Royal, Va 22630.

Follow the Thermal Shelter of Front Royal on Facebook for more information.

The Thermal Shelter of Front Royal has a wish list set up on! Keep an eye on the list for updates. Type in Thermal Shelter in the search tab for lists or click on this link.

Items can be shipped to: PO Box 454 Front Royal, Va 22630

* Jennifer Avery, Realtor with NextHome Realty Select is willing to donate a portion of her real estate sales commission to help the Thermal Shelter keep their doors open. All referrals who wish to be a part of this giveback effort, please call 540-683-0790 or email

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Community Events

Have you heard of the Friends of the NRA?



Mike McCool and Dick Mason discuss the upcoming Friends of the NRA event on March 2nd. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Dick Mason stopped by Royal Examiner’s office to discuss an upcoming event happening on March 2nd. The Friends of the NRA will be hosting a dinner and auction to raise funds to promote shooting sports.

Not a member of the NRA? Not a problem! Membership is not required.

Dick explains the programs supported by the effort of Friends of the NRA chapters throughout Virginia and the US:


Bring your family and enjoy good food, great prizes and an evening of fun at the Northern Valley Friends of NRA dinner on March 2nd. In addition to great prizes, you will have the chance at a live auction of commemorative firearms and unique merchandise.

Proceeds from the event will be used to promote the future of the shooting sports all across Virginia and the nation. Don’t miss this special Friends of NRA event on March 2nd at 5:30 PM at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. To buy tickets or for more information, go to or call 540-635-9424 or 540-305-9166 today!


For more than two decades, The NRA Foundation has served the needs of freedom-loving Americans across this great nation. They continue to teach freedom through programs that instill knowledge about our nation’s great history. They build partnerships with leaders in our communities and provide grants that are instrumental in funding programs that support our shared vision.

Since their establishment in 1990, they’ve awarded nearly $369 million in grant funding in support of the shooting sports. These grants provide essential funding that benefits programs such as youth education, law enforcement training, hunter education, conservation, firearms and marksmanship training and safety, and much more.

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Community Events

Skyline Insurance Agency receives 2018 Best of Front Royal Award



Skyline Insurance Agency, located at 310 N Commerce Avenue in Front Royal. Photo/Google Maps

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline Insurance Agency has been selected for the 2018 Best of Front Royal Award in the Automobile Insurance category by the Front Royal Award Program.

Each year, the Front Royal Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customer and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Front Royal area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2018 Front Royal Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Front Royal Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Front Royal Award Program

The Front Royal Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Front Royal area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Front Royal Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

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Community Events

Colonel John S. Mosby Camp presents first prize in the raffle launched by the Sons of Confederate Veterans



Colonel John S. Mosby Camp commander Bruce Colton (right) presents Randy Almarode (left), of Front Royal, a .50 caliber black powder rifle – first prize in the raffle launched by the Sons of Confederate Veterans at Front Royal’s October 2018 Festival of Leaves. Courtesy Photo

Composed of the male descendants of Confederate soldiers, the SCV is charged with maintaining war memorials and graves, observing Confederate memorial days and encouraging southern historical study. The Mosby Camp will soon embark on a Stokes Steed Cemetery cleanup. Among its commemorative events was the January 26 Lee Banquet featuring retired U.S. Army historian Kim Holien, who spoke on Colonel Mosby and the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, also known as Mosby’s Rangers.

To learn more about the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Col. John S. Mosby Camp in Front Royal, visit their website:

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