Independence Hall Bucket List – Philadelphia, PA
For all of us, there is a bucket list of things we’d like to do. This list becomes more urgent as we reach retirement and the clock keeps ticking.
For members of the SAR and DAR, and American history buffs in general, visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia is a MUST.
Compatriot Bob Hill of the Hocking Valley Chapter recently made a pilgrimage there beginning the day after Memorial Day.
Recently retired from the US Postal Service, Bob placed Independence Hall at the top of his road trip list, and he says the long drive is worth it. He also says, “To stand in that ‘sacred space,’ the very room where the Founding Fathers debated, argued, crafted, and voted for independence, creating a new nation — a republic based on law — and going to war against the strongest military on earth at the time — is inspiring to think of their courage! It’s akin to walking the battleground at Guilford Court House or Gettysburg.”
Keeping a budget in mind, Bob squeezed in what he could in two days: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, Portrait Gallery (of Revolutionary heroes) in the Second Bank of the US, a visit to the new Museum of the American Revolution, the Betsy Ross House, Carpenter’s Hall (where the First Continental Congress met in 1774), Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution, and Christ Church Burial Ground (where several signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried, including Benjamin Franklin), and finding the historical marker for Tun Tavern, traditional birthplace of the US Marine Corps.
Day three on Bob’s trip was spent navigating the battlefield at Brandywine (west of Philadelphia), not an easy task since the battlefield is separated in parts by residential properties, narrow twisting roads, and heavy traffic. Bob then drove to Cecil County, MD, (about 50 miles distant), where Bob’s patriot ancestor, George Hill, once lived before migrating to Ohio in 1804.
Day four was spent doing some research at the local library and walking around the town of Elkton (in Revolutionary times called Head of Elk), and the beautiful area called Elk Neck, a peninsula at the top of Chesapeake Bay, where the teenaged George Hill once walked himself, and no doubt witnessed the landing of 18,000 British troops there in 1777 on their way to attack Philadelphia. The following year George would enlist in Light Horse Harry Lee’s Legion of the Continental Army. Bob says it’s inspiring connecting an ancestor to all these momentous events, walking on the same ground where they lived, and reflecting on their courage and sacrifice which created the wonderful nation we live in today.