Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bells


By Julie Rahm

Everyone knows the Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. Of course, the bell is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was formerly placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall). The bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack in 1752, and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (which is part of Leviticus 25:10). The bell originally cracked when first rung after arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years, the Liberty Bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations. No immediate announcement was made of the Second Continental Congress's vote for independence, and thus the bell could not have rung on July 4, 1776. Bells were rung to mark the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776. And, while there is no account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung. Still, the Liberty Bell was not rung on July 4th 1776 (a little known fact).
After American independence was secured, the bell fell into relative obscurity for some years. In the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the "Liberty Bell." It acquired its distinctive large crack sometime in the early 19th century—a widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835. The bell became famous when an 1847 short story claimed that an aged bell-ringer rang it on July 4, 1776, upon hearing of the Second Continental Congress's vote for independence. Despite the fact that the bell did not ring for independence on that July 4th, the tale was widely accepted as fact, even by some historians.
Beginning in 1885, the City of Philadelphia, which owns the bell, allowed it to go to various expositions and patriotic gatherings. The bell attracted huge crowds wherever it went, additional cracking occurred and pieces were chipped away by souvenir hunters. The last such journey occurred in 1915, after which the city refused further requests. After World War II, the city allowed the National Park Service to take custody of the bell, while retaining ownership. The bell was used as a symbol of freedom during the Cold War and was a popular site for protests in the 1960s. It was moved from its longtime home in Independence Hall to a nearby glass pavilion on Independence Mall in 1976, and then to the larger Liberty Bell Center adjacent to the pavilion in 2003.
So all this leads to this week's one-liner; "You can't un-ring a bell." Some mistakes can't be undone. Some words, once spoken, can't be "taken back". So my message is be thoughtful and purposeful when you execute your life. For daily tips, visit me online at www.FB.com/ReliefWithJulie.

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