I am back from vacation and I’d like to share some of the fun. For our tour of NYC we left early Friday morning, catching the bus about an hour from our house. I quickly discovered how to get the best seat in the bus. Just get a bad case of motion sickness. After that the whole group allowed me to sit in the front behind the driver. I got to see everything from the prime seats.
On our way to New York City we stopped half way in Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell. It was a bit of a nostalgic trip for my husband, who had been in a sit-in there in 1965. The purpose of the sit-in was to show support for the civil rights demonstrators who at that time were being attacked by police in Selma, Alabama. He remembered the bell being on a raised platform, in a very plain, small building. Today it is surrounded by an elaborate complex of buildings, offering a multitude of exhibits, souvenirs, and opportunities for tourists to spend money. The bell itself is at the end of a long hall that is full of glassed-in posters, paintings, and photos. Before you get to the Bell, you see a short movie about its history. The movie actually does mention the sit-in. It shows a blurry picture of it, in which you can make out the 1960’s hair styles of the people but not their faces; then it cuts to the iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” – which had actually taken place a couple of years before – but it does get the message across: Liberty should be for everybody, not just for the white men who first proclaimed it.
It was cold and rainy – which my husband assures me is typical of spring in Philadelphia – so we continued our browsing on the inside of the building complex. We saw people dressed in costumes of 1776; heard hammer dulcimer music; and saw two films about the revolutionary war and independence. In one of the films, Benjamin Franklin came back as a ghost, got together with the ghosts of George Washington and Tom Paine, and explained to us that it is up to us to keep democracy alive. The other film showed a few ordinary men and women as they decided to take sides – for the Revolution, against it, or somewhere in between. No mention of slavery in the movies, but it was prominently mentioned in the exhibits. Did you know that two of George Washington’s slaves escaped to freedom when he was in Philadelphia? He tried to get them back, but even though he was one of the most powerful men in the country, he couldn’t.
I guess that is a tribute to the spirit of Liberty.
This was co authored by my husb. If you liked this article I invite you to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the subscribe button on the top right in the side bar above my photo. I will tell you about my visit to New York City in my next post.