Dear Society Members,
This Society is entrusted with keeping the memory of our ancestors alive and remembering their sacrifices. As we met in Delaware, I couldn’t help but reflect on those three Signers, Thomas McKean, George Read and Caesar Rodney. Caesar Rodney was plagued throughout his life with asthma and then facial cancer. Nevertheless, when called by Thomas McKean to come to Philadelphia to break the deadlock and vote for independence, he did not hesitate and even though seriously ill rode through the night on horse or carriage through torrential rain storms, arriving muddy, wet and fatigued but strong enough to faithfully cast his vote.
A special thank-you to L.D. Shank for planning such a delightful meeting in Delaware. We had a most enjoyable day in picturesque New Castle visiting the homes and gardens despite the morning rain showers, which did not dampen our spirits. We were privileged to be invited into the private homes of the Honorable and Mrs. Richard Cooch and Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Mayhew, both descendants and members of the Society. We were also able to wander through the grounds of the Immanuel Episcopal Church where Signer George Read is buried and view the plaque placed by the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence honoring the Delaware Signers. A lovely weekend was had by all in the First State.
I would like to report that as your President-General I was honored to be able to represent the Society at a wreath-laying ceremony in Washington honoring Thomas Jefferson on the occasion of the 273rd anniversary of his birthday. The Jefferson Memorial Ceremony is presented by The District of Columbia Sons of the American Revolution in cooperation with the National Park Service and the United States Department of the Interior and Military District of Washington.
The Board received a request from the Friends of Independence Hall working with the National Park Service to help fund the renovation of the Bicentennial Bell Garden.
Most significantly, a large bell given to the people of the United States in 1976 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the people of Great Britain, known as the Bicentennial Bell, will be brought out of storage and featured in the center of the garden. The Board felt that this was a worthy cause and voted unanimously to make a donation to help with the project since Independence Hall is considered to be our home base. We are the only Society allowed to meet in the Long Room, just as our Ancestors did those many years ago.
In closing, I shall look forward to welcoming you the Descendants, Guests and Bell Tappers to Philadelphia on the Fourth of July 2016.
Hope Middleton Wood