Dear DSDI Members,
A special thank you to 1st VP-General Hope Middleton Wood for planning a great meeting in historic and picturesque Charleston, SC, Oct. 10-12. Receiving a Proclamation from record-serving Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. welcoming DSDI to the city set the tone for the weekend.
Members from around the country gathered at the Francis Marion Hotel Friday night for a Lowcountry buffet with music entertainment provided by John Tecklenburg, a future mayoral candidate and descendant of Signer Philip Livingston. On Saturday, the leisurely pace of a horse- or mule-drawn carriage was the ideal way to view the sights of Charleston. As we toured the Heyward-Washington House, did anyone else notice the smiles on the faces of our own member-descendants of Thomas Heyward, Jr. when we were told about President George Washington staying at their Signer’s house on his tour through the Southern states in 1791?
Having heard him at our plaque dedication to Signer Thomas Lynch, Jr. at Hopsewee Plantation back in July, I knew that Bobby Walters, a high school senior from Pawleys Island, SC and two-time winner of the South Carolina SAR’s statewide oration contest, would be the perfect after-lunch lead-in to the General Meeting at the Harbour Club. Following his six-minute oration that focused on the power of the opening words of the Declaration of Independence, everyone was moved to give Bobby a standing ovation. After the General Meeting, we toured the Old Exchange Building. While boisterous political gatherings occurred upstairs, the basement below served as a dungeon for those unfortunates awaiting criminal trial or sentencing.
In returning to the hotel some walked, some caught the free town trolley and others opted to ride in pedi-cabs. There was plenty of time to dress for a black tie evening at the fashionable Carolina Yacht Club, where camaraderie flowed on a balcony overlooking the harbor, in which Fort Sumter stands in protective mode. A delicious beef brisket and scallop combo dinner was followed by an enlightening talk on the importance of music during the Revolution. Kudos to Hunter George, the Editor of The Spirit of ’76, who recently moved to the Charleston area, for his efforts in publicizing our visit locally. At the last minute, our devoted Registrar-General, Jim Alexander, had to miss this weekend due to an unexpected health issue, but he is back on his feet and doing well. His brother and fellow Oregonian, Johnny Alexander, our new Treasurer-General, claimed the prize for traveling the greatest distance to the meeting.
As President-General, it is especially gratifying to read letters of appreciation from our young Bell Tappers and scholarship recipients. Popular culture refers to this age group as Generation Y or Millennials. However tagged, I am convinced our youthful members, with acknowledgement to novelist Tom Wolfe, are instilled with “the right stuff.” It will be a pleasure watching them take an active role in remembering and preserving the role of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Susan and I look forward to seeing you at the Mount Vernon meeting in the Spring.