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Goodbye, Liberty Belle : A Son's Search for His Father's War

Preview — Goodbye, Liberty Belle by J. Merritt ,. James Merritt. Merritt tells a moving and fascinating story that weaves together his father's adventures as a WWII bomber pilot and his own "unfinished business" of coming to terms with his father. Interwoven is the story of Merritt's quest to know his father. Get A Copy. Have one to sell?

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History of the Liberty Bell

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They lose all the benefit of the associations that cling to Independence Hall, and the bell should, therefore, never be separated from [Philadelphia]. When the Bell was sounded at 5 p. Eastern time on Friday, February 11, two hundred dignitaries listened on candlestick phones set up at the Bell office in Philadelphia, along with an additional at the Bell office in San Francisco.

In Washington, Alexander Graham Bell listened in on his private line, one of the perks of having patented the telephone. That call was supposed to end the discussion, but Sunny Jim kept pushing. Eventually President Wilson and ex-President Roosevelt joined him.

After that, the city powers allowed Blankenburg to risk letting the Bell make a whistle-stop tour of America. As soon as it was clear the Bell would travel, the discussion about its crack and physical condition stopped being political and became very practical. The city heard from every expert and crackpot in the country with an idea about how to repair, restore or otherwise de-crack the Bell. There were suggestions from the Department of the Navy, major foundries, even garages around the country, all offering to heal the fracture for the good of the nation.

Blankenburg, however, was appalled by the idea.


The Pennsylvania Railroad had only weeks to prepare for a trip that normally would have taken months or years to plan—including the construction of the best-cushioned rail car in history, with the biggest springs ever used. Blankenburg, who deserved the honor not only for his difficult time as mayor but also for a lifetime of service to Philadelphia and the nation, announced that he would not be able to make the trip. He blamed it on his health, but everyone knew different.

Blankenburg doubled down on his role as a national spokesman for its message. At a banquet at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, he threw down the challenge to a large group of white civic leaders who were expecting light after-dinner remarks. There is no Anglo-Saxon race An overwhelming majority of our white population is a mix of all white races of Europe—Teutonic, Latin, Slav. And where would you place the ten million colored people who live among us? Let us, therefore, abolish all distinctions that may lead to ill feeling and let us call ourselves, before the whole world, Americans, first, last and all the time.

Blankenburg ordered that Independence Hall remain open late on Independence Day The next day, at 3 p. The passengers on the train—mostly city councilmen and their families—were in no way prepared for the volume of people who greeted them. At one of the first stops, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so many people gathered that no one on the train could tell where the crowds ended. The privilege of touching the Bell was supposed to be reserved for blind people, but the guards often allowed babies and toddlers up over the railing for a closer look and a photo op.

Adults who got close enough asked the guards if they could touch the Bell with something, anything. Prosperous businessmen, who looked as if sentiment played a small part in their everyday dealings with the world, handed up heavy gold watches and chains. The Liberty Bell had never been farther west than St.