109th Annual Congress, Philadelphia, PA  2016

The DSDI Board of Governors met on  Sunday, July 3, 2016 at the Franklin Hotel at Independence Park in Philadelphia  with 16 in attendance. The meeting was led by DSDI President-General Hope Middleton Wood. As has become tradition, members and their families gathered after the board meeting for a Philadelphia cheese steak buffet in the hotel’s private dining room.

Early Monday morning, July 4th, the Bell Tappers, their parents and grandparents assembled in the hotel lobby  for the walk to Independence Hall where they would rehearse under the guidance of  Don Ward, Sr.

After the Bell Tappers completed their practice, they were joined by their families and other DSDI members for a brunch and ceremony in which each tapper received a special Liberty Bell pin to remember this important day in their lives.

We were fortunate to be able to view the wonderfully colorful Philadelphia July 4th parade that passed in front of the hotel.  Red, white and blue flags, streamers, and costumes dominated the  parade in a show of patriotism for our wonderful country.

In the afternoon, the young tappers headed back to the Liberty Bell for the bell tapping at 2 p.m.  President-General Hope Wood conducted a very lively question and answer session for our young members while we waited to be called to the Liberty Bell. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny addressed the group as well as William Murray Gordon, representing the Philadelphia Society of the Sons of the Revolution. The President-General thanked the PSSR and the Park Service for their support and participation in this event. The 10 Bell Tappers included eight descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and two of this country’s newest citizens who were sworn in on July 4th.

Later in the afternoon, the Annual DSDI Congress took place in the Long Room at Independence Hall.  Following the reading of the Society Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, our President-General conducted the meeting. Jim Alexander read the Declaration of Independence, which never ceases to create a sense of awe and admiration for those remarkable 56 men who signed this marvelous document.   Jill Haimes announced the 56 recipients from this year’s scholarship program.  During the Roll Call, the Livingston descendants were delighted to have the most number present: a whopping 13 descendants!

From the Annual Congress meeting in Independence Hall we returned to the Franklin Hotel for a pleasant reception in the lobby bar and then on to dinner in the Azalea Room.  Bill Wood gave a fascinating speech on the Battle of  Brandywine.  Dinner was a time to reflect on a very special Fourth of July and to enjoy the company of  DSDI  members once more.


Shelley Horsley Cruz

1st Vice President