The Liberty Bell is another famous symbol in American history. The actual bell was believed to be the bell that was rung on July 8th, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was publicly announced. It was originally placed at the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now called the Independence Hall). On the bell there was lettering (part of Leviticus 25:10): “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” The bell was adopted as a symbol by the abolitionist societies in 1830s (called “the Liberty Bell”), and later on during the Cold War it became a symbol of freedom. There were many stories about how the bell cracked, but the crack became the distinguishing feature of the bell that separates it from any other bells.
Today you can visit the Liberty Bell Center to see the Liberty Bell in person. It is located in the Independence National Historical Park in downtown Philadelphia, right across the street from the Independence Hall.
The photo below was taken during my visit to the Independence National Historical Park. Unlike the Independence Hall, you don’t need a ticket to see the Liberty Bell. But you may need to wait patiently if you want get a photo of the bell (or with the bell) alone, as there could be many people around wanting to take photo with this iconic historical artifact.
Not far from the Battery Park in New York City where you can board the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you can find the center of American financial industry, the New York Financial District with its famous street, Wall Street. On 11 Wall Street you can find the New York Stock Exchange building. The NYSE is the world’s largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Inside the NYSE building is the trading floor where the day-to-day business of the stock market is being conducted. Since the September 11 attacks, the trading floor is closed to public. Today if you want see the action inside in person, you can follow one of these suggestions on eHow: go on educational program or visit as part of a college class, apply for an internship at the NYSE, get a trading license and become an actual stock trader, or start a company and take it public.
I’ve only visited the NYSE as part of a walking tour in the area outside. Just right across the street from the NYSE building, there is another building that is also historically significant, the Federal Hall. The Federal Hall was the site where George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States, and the building was also home of the first Congress, the first Supreme Court, and the first Executive Branches. It’s worth the visit especially given its significance in the birth of the United States of America as a country.
The photo below was taken in front of the NYSE building. It’s the pediment part of the NYSE building facade, designed by John Quincy Adams Ward. Entitled “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man,” it depicts the 22-foot figure of Integrity in the center, with Agriculture and Mining to her left and Science, Industry and Invention on her right, representing the sources of American prosperity. The waves on either extreme of the pediment symbolize the ocean-to-ocean influence of the Exchange.
The Lincoln Memorial is located at the west end of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The memorial was dedicated in 1922 in honor of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. Lincoln served as the US President from 1861 to his assassination in 1865. He led the country through a very difficult time, the American Civil War, and credited with preserving the Union and for ending slavery. Lincoln has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest US presidents in the history.
The Lincoln Memorial itself over the years had become a special place in the US history as its steps had been the venue for many Civil Right Movement events. It was the place where in 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
I’ve visited the Lincoln Memorial many times whenever I come to the National Mall, especially when taking out-of-town visitors. It’s a great place to visit both during the day and at night. The Lincoln statue is illuminated at night, and it’s open for visitors 24 hours a day, so sometimes late night is a good time to visit as there wouldn’t be as many visitors. I’ve also been there for an Easter sunrise service — it was quite a sight seeing the sunrise over the National Mall area from the steps of Lincoln Memorial.
The photo below was taken during a day visit to the memorial. The whole Memorial building architecture was quite impressive, but even just looking at the Lincoln statue when thinking about what he had to go through to lead the country through such difficult times, gave me goose bumps.