Around the Fourth of July, I think of the Liberty Bell.
In 1917, we were entering the "war to end all wars," and everyone was excited and patriotic.
The Liberty Bell was on tour. We went to see it on a flat-bed railroad car in Boise, Idaho, and I was aghast to see that the huge dark brown bell was sitting on plain old straw, such as that we scattered in barnyards.
Why not something nicer?
My daddy lifted me up to reach out and touch the bell.
"Oh, to say you had," he replied.
I touched it, and wasn't sure I felt any different.
I do remember the excitement, the joy, and the conviction that this was the "war to end all wars."
In 1876, a Centennial Bell was given by the United Kingdom to celebrate the 100th birthday of the United States.
In 1976, Queen Elizabeth II gave a Bicentennial Bell as a gift to the United States, one made at the very same foundry, from the same alloy of metals as the original bell, the recipe having been found and carefully followed in melting and pouring the new bell.
What a gracious gesture from the United Kingdom to those American colonies that with juvenile rebelliousness had severed their family relationship to their parent nation.
I read that President Ford expressed his thanks to the queen in Philadelphia, where she was visiting at the time.
History has both bright and dark events on both sides.
To me, the old cracked, brown, cold, hard Liberty Bell represents mostly bright things.
I do feel, however, that it is time to place the cracked one in the past, and let the deep clear tones of the new ones ring out.
I believe that, as a nation, we have begun to make such a change.
Louise Ireland-Frey, Durango