by iampunha | 9/01/2008 07:40:00 PM
No great comedian I know of, no writer of biting satire, and no famed court jester was born today.

No, today's celebrated event is above the truthiness of comedy, beyond the point at which satire is credible and far more serious (trust me) than a jester.

What happened today shaped our country's then-future in ways so ingrained in our society that it is one of those many things where we don't wonder what life would be like without it.

On Sept. 1, 1752, the Liberty Bell arrived in Philadelphia. But that isn't the funny part.

For the Allied and innocent lives lost in World War II, which began 69 years ago today.

The Liberty Bell (which wasn't then known as the Liberty Bell) came to us from England, where it was cast. The bulk of the metal (largely copper and tin) was obtained and worked in Cornwall and South Wales, the former of which was once fairly well-off but is now one of the poorest areas in England.

The bell cracked the first time it was rung in the colonies.

So it was recast. Twice.

And still it wouldn't settle down.

But that's not exactly why it looks as it does today.

Yes, it's cracked. But what you see when you look at the Liberty Bell is a machined crack:

Bell Ringer Henry Stone machined the crack into a half-inch slot 24 inches long and inserted two, copper rivets to prevent the two edges of the crack from rubbing together. The filings were collected and cast into a small bell.

Oh, and one last bit of fun for this portion of this diary:

The [b]ell was sent from England on the ship Hibernia, captained by William Child.

Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland. And once upon a time in this country, some of us weren't so fond of the Irish.

(Those of you wisely thinking about other occupants of ships back in the day will be happy to know there were no slaves on the ship.)

The Liberty Bell is from England. The Statue of Liberty is part French. The architecture of the White House and various other massively famous buildings in this country is Greek and Roman. The numbers on those massively famous buildings are from Arabic. And if the most famous portrait of our first war hero, Gen. Washington, had the man smiling, we'd see teeth from nature, all right, but animals and trees, not the pearly whites Washington possessed in his teen years.

So the next time someone goes on about the might of America, and how America can do it all alone, remember that one of the greatest signs of strength is the ability to take a good idea and use it.

Not like it hasn't worked before.

Liberty Bell Presentation



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Blogger Debrah on 9/01/2008 8:41 PM:

Ah, the Liberty Bell.

Such a significant American symbol.

A great post which brings back memories of many Fourth of July celebrations in Center City.

As the summer winds down and a new academic year begins, it's appropriate to recognize a great historian of our own time.

The "god of the academy".....

......and an avant-garde glimpse in all his modest splendor.