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W. Howard Coop, 32

Freedom in America, like Philadelphia’s famed Liberty Bell, will remain flawed so long as there is injustice in our nation.

The memory of some events lingers in the mind long after the events occurred. An event that happened on September 29, 1983, is one that I shall remember all my life.

Soon after arriving in the “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia, I walked from Independence Hall across Chestnut Street to the Liberty Bell Pavilion in Independence Square to see the Liberty Bell, one of the more revered symbols of our national heritage. Upon entering the pavilion, I stood in awe as I gazed at the large bell.

The priceless bell originally cost about $300. It weighs 2,080 pounds and has a circumference of 12 feet. The bell was cast in Whitechapel, London, in 1752 by Thomas Lister. After being brought to Philadelphia, the bell was hung in the steeple of the State House, now known as Independence Hall, in 1753.

The bell was cracked the first time it was rung. A letter from that period states that soon after reaching Philadelphia, the bell was cracked “by a stoke of the it was hung up to try the sound.”

On July 8, 1835, while tolling a knell for Chief Justice John Marshall of the United States Supreme Court, the famous bell was cracked a second time. As a result of these cracks, the bell was recast twice. The work was done locally by John Pass and Charles Stowe. On February 22, 1846, George Washington’s birthday, the bell received its third and irreparable crack.

The bell is inscribed with a biblical inscription taken from Leviticus 25:10 which says, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” From the high steeple of Independence Hall, it was rung on July 4, 1776, to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence which proclaimed to all the world:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Thereafter, it became known as the Liberty Bell.

Since January 1, 1976, the Liberty Bell has bung in Liberty Bell Pavilion where it is more accessible to the public. The pavilion is located in Independence Square just north of Independence Hall.

It was an emotional moment for me as I stood among a subdued crowd of tourists and gazed upon the revered bell. Contemplating the famous crack in the bell, I was struck with this thought: As long as there is a trace of injustice in the land, as long as there is denial of freedom to any citizen, as long as any individual is deprived of liberty and as long as the right to pursue happiness is withheld from any person, there will be a serious crack in the Liberty Bell.

Please remember The House of The Temple Historic Preservation Foundation, S.J., USA, with your gifts and in your will, 1--800--486--3331.