No city in the United States is so closely tied to liberty and freedom as is Philadelphia (though Boston does have an argument for STARTING the fire!).
Philly is where we initially seated our new government, it’s where the founders debated and adopted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and it’s where millions of citizens and International tourists go to learn more about our struggle for independence.
For almost 7 months, Victoria and I lived in a small suburb of Philadelphia known as the state of Delaware and only visited the city two or three times, and mostly for cheese steak. So, on this visit, we were determined to focus ourselves on learning more about the city of brotherly love and its role in the revolution (and eat some cheese steak – here).
We started early by visiting the centerpiece of Independence National Park, the beautiful Georgian-style building known as Independence Hall. Construction was completed in 1756 as the State House of Pennsylvania. We were met inside by a well-meaning park ranger who sounded strikingly like a less bald incarnation of classic character actor Wallace Shawn – the voice of Rex the dinosaur in Toy Story. (I know, INCONCEIVABLE right? Here’s a picture… you decide.)
He led us into the Assembly Room of the building, where an unimaginable amount of history “dropped.” From George Washington’s formal appointment as commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The American flag was agreed to in this room, the tables were used to argue and adopt the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution drafted and ratified.
He droned a bit, but I was able to pick up some substantial tidbits and the tour was generally worth the price – free.
We then headed over to the Liberty Bell for a few pictures and to peruse the new Liberty Bell Center that was added after we left the area. The Liberty Bell traveled across the country in the 1800s to county and local fairs to help heal the divisions of the Civil War, as the Liberty Bell website says, it helped in “reminding Americans of their earlier days when they fought and worked together for independence.”
Since 1915, the Bell has remained in Philadelphia, where it sits as a silent reminder of the power of liberty. Amazing.