Normandy rings tribute to US with Liberty Bell

4th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

CAEN, France, June 4 (AFP) - An exact copy of the Liberty Bell was unveiled on Friday at a ceremony in Caen to symbolize Franco-American friendship ahead of weekend ceremonies to commemorate the 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy.

CAEN, France, June 4 (AFP) - An exact copy of the Liberty Bell was unveiled on Friday at a ceremony in Caen to symbolize Franco-American friendship ahead of weekend ceremonies to commemorate the 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy.

"This is a tribute to the American people, especially the young people who sacrificed their youth and too often their lives for the liberation of Europe," said the president of the Lower Normandy regional assembly, Philippe Duron.

There is "no stronger symbol of American democracy," said Walter Cichaki, an official from the city of Philadelphia, where the original Liberty Bell was commissioned in 1751 to grace the steeple of the Pennsylvania state house.

The new bell rang seven times, once for each of the letters in the word "freedom". It will be kept at the seat of the Lower Normandy regional assembly for two years until officials find a more symbolic home - maybe Omaha Beach.

Paul Bergamo, manager of the Cornille-Havard foundry that cast the bell, likened the bell tolls to "the sound that Benjamin Franklin heard as he helped prepare the American constitution."

The bell has been sounded at key moments during US history - but contrary to popular belief, maybe not at the Declaration of Independence.

On D-Day it was tapped with a rubber mallet on a national radio program by Philadelphia's then mayor: 12 times to symbolize the letters of "independence" and seven times for "liberty."

The replica is 76 percent copper and 24 percent tin, and designed on the basis of a three-dimensional scan of the original. The two-foot long crack, which appeared in 1846 as the bell was tolled for George Washington's birthday, was not deemed an essential feature.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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