April 28, 2008

#26 Independence Historic National Park

Independence Hall (Independence Historic National Park)
Independence Hall

I word about the Liberty Bell. It is a bell. With a crack. The end. The line to see the bell was long; JL and I had a discussion that went something like this:

ME: It’s just a broken bell, right?
JL: Yes.
ME: Do we really need to wait in line to see a broken bell?
JL: Probably not.
ME: But if you come all the way to Philadelphia don’t you have to see the Liberty Bell?
JL: Yes.
ME: So we stand in line.
JL: So we stand in line.

Pass and Stow

Here’s the thing about Independence Hall. History lives here. It breathes here. For anyone who cares about this country it is an amazing and sacred experience. To stand in the same room where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. Absolutely amazing.

Independence Hall interior

I took a few pictures in the Congressional Hall, but none really came out the way I’d envisioned. The Ranger who led us in, sat us down, and started talking. Talking about the two presidents who were sworn in in that building. The first was George Washington at the beginning of his second term. The second was John Adams, and there was hardly a dry eye in the house. “Why?” She asked. Imagine the scene. George Washington was voluntarily transferring his title, his power to someone not related to him, and without violence and bloodshed. It had never happened before. Never. And the people wept. Except for George Washington, who was ready to enjoy a quiet retirement.