“Certainly,” said Tom. “In fact, I’ve taken the LIBERTY to list the very reasons.”
Tom learned the power of his words that day: Mr. Douglas told him to pursue all the LIFE, LIBERTY, AND HAPPINESS he wanted. . .
from: John, Paul, George and Ben
written and illustrated by Lane Smith
Hyperion Books for Children, 2006
My mind can’t wrap around what he was moving from. His old country was a land of persecution and poverty, broken dreams and broken hearts, and knowing survival meant moving half a world away and not coming back.
My ferry ride from Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty mimicked his trip from the Island to New York. I was awed, overwhelmed, nostalgic, excited, thrilled, and I did know the language. I found the plaque with Grandpa’s name and made the obligatory rubbing.
Next stop, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. My husband and I are small-town people. Super highways intimidate me, but we found our way to Philadelphia and toured Independence Hall. Then we visited The Liberty Bell. It was not yet behind glass (or barricaded away for its own safety). We walked right up to it and even were allowed to touch it.
Here are two interesting facts I found out from http://www.ushistory.org/libertybell/
- Abolitionists named The Liberty Bell. Before that it was just called the Statehouse Bell. William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery publication The Liberator reprinted a Boston abolitionist pamphlet containing a poem about the Bell, entitled, The Liberty Bell, which represents the first documented use of the name, "Liberty Bell."
- On every Fourth of July, at 2pm Eastern time, children who are descendants of Declaration signers symbolically tap the Liberty Bell 13 times while bells across the nation also ring 13 times in honor of the patriots from the original 13 states.
Just like last week’s interesting speeches and activities in Cleveland drew some spectators who were more interested in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’m sure Philadelphia has attracted some people looking for a Cheesesteak sandwich.
Grandpa realized his dreams and made a new life here. His children and his children’s children and his children’s children’s children and their children echo one of his favorite sayings, “Only in America!”
And whatever happens this week and in the weeks and months to come, I’m betting we’ll all still be saying “Let freedom ring.”