HughE Dillon: Washington’s Birthday Bash at Union League

The Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution celebrate.

Washington’s Birthday is seared into my head as a day my mom would pile my seven siblings into the station wagon and head to McDonald’s where we would pick up several dozen cherry pies for 10 cents a piece to have as a snack in our lunches throughout the year. For the members of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution the birthday of our first president is more meaningful, as they traditionally meet on the Saturday before Washington’s birthday to honor him in an elaborate ceremony at the Union League. Below: Robert McNelly, society treasurer, Christie McNelly, Sharon Holt, and committee member Stephen Holt.

Below: Schuyler Wickes, Murray Gordon, Lori Gordon and Jas Hayes. To become a member of the Society, one must be a “male person of good character, and lineal descendant of one who, as a military, naval or marine officer, soldier, sailor, or marine, in actual service, under the authority of any of the thirteen Colonies or States or of the Continental Congress.” Basically, if your father didn’t fight or assist in the Revolutionary War, there is no way you would be accepted as a member.

Below: Liz Odiorne and Charlotte Fenstermacher, from Bryn Mawr, are both wearing David Meister, and Lisi Lerch is owner of Lisi Lerch Designs (jewelery).

Below: Visiting from Washington D.C. to support their friend Andrew Sullivan, secretary (second from left), are Green Book members Hope Stewart (wearing a vintage dress she bought in China), Winifred West (wearing Bill Blass), and John Hines.

Below: Megan Handy and William Handy. That evening would be the first night William would be playing percussion in the band with the color guard. The color guard is one of the main attractions of the event and consists of the parade of flags. Each flag represents a battalion that battled in the Revolutionary War.

Below: J. Gillmur Tyson III and Eleanor Peterson make a dashing duo. The menu for dinner featured items that Washington is known to have liked.

The Society also participates in the new citizen ceremonies in Philadelphia, to provide important historical comments on the United States as well as guidance for new citizens. Below: Haley Samsi, retail outreach manager at Center City District, Travis Logan, cavalry scout at Army National Guard, Whitney Manly-Power, underwriter at Philadelphia Insurance Companies, and Lt. Jourdan Frain, a decorated veteran of the Iraq War.

Below: The Van Gulick family, Amy, Elizabeth, Gloria, Emily and Robert. Gloria Van Gulick told me this was a very proud day for her son as he recently was elected captain of the color guard—an honored position that is earned after years of service. That night he led the parade of flags into the dining hall. (It’s always spine-tingling for me to witness something as steeped in tradition and history as the procession of the flags that represent the battalions who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War.)