Our Philadelphia celebration began July 3, 2012 with an evening meal featuring a “Taste of Philadelphia.” Our members were introduced to some Philly originals. The menu was a feast of Philly favorites, including cheese steaks, soft pretzels, Tastykakes and canolis. For those unfamiliar with the cheese steak, one of the condiments is cheezewiz.
Despite the heat on the 4th, it was another spirited celebration of Independence in the city. It is always a delight to see the many displays of patriotism and the array of red, white and blue worn by the citizens and visitors to the city.
We began our day with the rehearsal at the Liberty Bell to make sure our young members were comfortable prior to the actual event to take place in the afternoon. After the rehearsal we all went to brunch at the Omni Hotel. This event has become one of our newer traditions and has begun to be well attended. This year we had 50 people in attendance.
In the afternoon, we assembled for the actual ceremony at the Liberty Bell. This is when our junior members actually tap the bell at 2 p.m. to begin the ringing of bells across the United States. This year we were joined by the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, as well as the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, and Cindy MacLeod, head of the national park. This event is in conjunction with the PSSR and is one of the highlights for our young people and their families.
Again this year we welcomed two new citizens to join with us in celebration of this great nation.
Our Annual General Meeting was convened in the Long Room of Independence Hall, as has been our tradition and privilege for the past 105 years. It is always a breathtaking experience. The junior members who were Bell Tappers were introduced to the membership, and recognized for their participation. It is an honor for me to be in close contact with our junior members at the tapping. The young tappers represented the Society with such dignity. The respect that each one has for their ancestor’s place in history is inspiring.
Following the format of the meeting, President-General John Glynn opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Society prayer. He introduced us to our guests and we had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Jane Calvert of the University of Kentucky, providing insight and understanding as to why John Dickinson chose NOT to sign the declaration. Her talk was continued at the dinner later in the evening. Additionally, John had arranged for Robin Naysmith and his wife Elizabeth to join us. Mr. Naysmith is a Scottish diplomat to the United States and graced us with his reading of the remarks of Queen Elizabeth on the Independence of the United States. Both guests provided us with thought-provoking information. Each year, attendance at the annual meeting is an event that gives us another opportunity to celebrate liberty and the sacrifices of those brave men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. We are all blessed by their sacrifice.
Donald C. Ward Sr.
Pennsylvania DSDI Governor
Past President-General of DSDI