Liberty Bell

In 1736, in the city of brotherly love, a most important event was happening. The most historic building in America was being completed. Can anyone tell me the name of this famous building that is still standing? It was the State House later named Independence Hall. Why is it called Independence Hall? Because it was here that the Second Continental Congress met and approved the Declaration of Independence. What great symbol of freedom is on display in this historic building? The Liberty Bell.
Fourteen years after the State House was completed, it was suggested that a bell be hung in the tower and a town clock affixed to the tower wall. The bell was cast in London, England, and on arrival in Philadelphia it was tested and it cracked. Two young men, John Stow and John Pass, who ran an iron foundry offered to break up the bell and recast it, adding additional copper to strengthen the bell. After the recasting, the bell was again tested and found satisfactory, so it was raised into place in the tower.
Twenty-three years later across the whole town, across the whole country and the world, the big bell would proclaim a message of liberty and justice for the thirteen American colonies as it rang out the good news—the unanimous adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the delegates from the thirteen colonies. From that day forward, this great bell has been referred to as the “Liberty Bell” and has been carefully preserved as a symbol of freedom and democracy.
During the Revolutionary War, when the British occupied Philadelphia, the bell was taken down and moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for safekeeping. It was returned to Philadelphia in time to peal out the news of the British surrender at Yorktown that ended the war. The Liberty Bell was rung for the last time on the death of John Marshall, the great statesman who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for 34 years. On this occasion, the great bell again cracked. So now it is standing in Independence Hall where millions of Americans come to pay their respects to one of our national treasures.
I have been to Independence Hall on two occasions. The first time I was in Philadelphia to attend a business meeting. After our business session, a friend and I left our hotel and walked several blocks to Independence Hall. We found the doors locked, and a security guard told us that the building was closed at 5 p.m. and we were about fifteen minutes late. We talked to the guard and told him we were leaving early the next morning so we could not come back. The guard then offered to let us in the building and show us around, so we had a personally guided tour by this most courteous security guard.
My next trip to Philadelphia came while we were living in Washington. My wife and I had promised to take our two little grandchildren on a train ride. Stephen was five and Becky three. We checked out various schedules and finally decided the best way was to take the train from Washington to Philadelphia where we would have about four hours layover before returning to Washington. This would give us time to get lunch and visit Independence Hall to see the big bell. We stopped in the station restaurant for lunch and were discussing what kind of plate lunches we wanted to order. My wife noticed that Becky, our three-year-old, was disturbed about something, and with that grandmotherly intuition, she leaned over to Becky and said, “Do you want a peanut butter sandwich?” That solved the problem and from the station we took off for Independence Hall to see the Liberty Bell.
Now here is an unusual and odd circumstance concerning the Liberty Bell. Around the top of the bell were cast these words from the Old Testament book of Leviticus, the 35th chapter and the tenth verse: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” This is exactly what this great bell did. Yet it was ordered and cast twenty-six years before the Revolution! Was it prophecy? Was it a coincidence, or was it Divine intervention into the affairs of men? I don’t know. I leave it to you to decide.

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