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January 4, 2007 A Departure Mourned

By G. WILLIAM THOMAS

 

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I write to tell you that our beloved Secretary, Colonel Samuel T. "Fighter Pilot" Dickens (USAF)(RTD) passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He could not be with us this fall at our Mt. Vernon meeting on October 27th because at that time he was struggling with the effects of some experimental drugs for bone cancer.

The funeral and burial will take place on February 5th at Arlington National Cemetery. There was a viewing and visitation on Tuesday, January 2nd at Eberly Funeral Home on Route 7 in Falls Church, Virginia.

 

Sam Dickens and Wife

Sam and his brother Charles both served as Trustees of the James Monroe Memorial Foundation. Charles Dickens worked for the CIA and had long served at the desk for Central and South America. Both were staunch supporters of The Monroe Doctrine and the need to promote its current validity. Over the years, we admired and kept up with the entire Dickens family and appreciated the important work of another brother, Fred. Now, they are all gone but their work continues to live in our hearts and minds. When Fred and Charles died a few years ago, in lieu of flowers, we purchased two important Monroe Era Maps which continue to be on loan to James Madison's Montpelier. The very valuable maps--now worth thousands of dollars -- are important because they were made near the end of the Monroe Administration and they were the best cartographical representation of the entire Western Hemisphere as it was known at that time. Clement Conger made the selection and completed the purchase for us in Philadelphia. The Central and South American Map continues to memorialize Charles Dickens and his love of country, freedom, and his life's work.

For Colonel Sam Dickens, we hope his fellow trustees and friends will contribute to the purchase of a complete bicentennial collection of the medals issued to commemorate all of the battles of the Revolutionary War. Just like the maps that honor both Fred and Charles, these medals will be on display at our new educational building at the Monroe Farm in Westmoreland County to honor Sam. We are glad he and Marcy were there with us to see our vision for The Monroe Farm during the James Monroe's birthday celebration on April 28th. We will remember him at the Monroe Farm and at the Monroe Monument next year and all the years that follow. Just like James Monroe is our hero, "Fighter Pilot " Sam Dickens was a 20th century hero. He was awarded with our James Monroe Distinguished Public Service Medal, and fifty years after the declassification of his top secret Air Force missions during the Korean Conflict, the President of the United States provided special honorific recognition to Sam as well. Just like the Revolutionary War Medals tell the story of James Monroe's service in the Revolutionary War during the 18th century, the fact that they are donated to memorialize our love for Sam for his service to America and to the Monroe Foundation during the twentieth and twenty-first century helping to highlight the way Freedom is repurchased by each and every generation. Just like we can still see Sam saluting Captain Miles DuVal during the Christmas season years ago, we all stand to salute our beloved friend and colleague, Sam.

At his daughter's this Christmas, Sam was surrounded by his children, grandchildren and family, with the full realization that this was their last -- but one full of joy, love and appreciation. May God be with the Dickens Family during this their time of deepest sorrow.

 

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won

From: O Captain! My Captain
by Walt Whitman