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From 1976 to 2026: The Bicentennial Bell's Continuing Journey


A photograph of the bicentennial bell
The Bicentennial Bell

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of American independence, a remarkable gift was presented to the United States by the British people—the Bicentennial Bell. Forged with precision and craftsmanship at the esteemed Whitechapel Foundry in London, this bell serves as a powerful symbol of the shared pursuit of freedom that unites our two nations.


The historic dedication ceremony took place on July 6, 1976, at the Independence National Historical Park's Visitor Center in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a momentous occasion, graced by the presence of Queen Elizabeth II herself. In her eloquent address, Her Majesty expressed profound gratitude to America's Founding Fathers for imparting the invaluable lesson of respecting the right of self-governance. She emphasized the enduring connection between our nations, rooted in the shared principles of the Magna Carta, and spoke of the deep admiration for the spirit of liberty that had blossomed on American soil.


For years, the melodious toll of the Bicentennial Bell resonated through the historic streets of Philadelphia, marking time with its chimes at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from its tower on 3rd Street, nestled between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. Today, this storied bell rests in anticipation, awaiting its triumphant return in 2026.


Upon its reintroduction, the Bicentennial Bell will find its new home in the splendidly renovated Rush Garden, located within the Independence National Historical Park. This serene oasis, named in honor of Dr. Benjamin Rush—a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a visionary figure in American history—will serve as a poignant reminder of the enduring ties between the United States and the United Kingdom.


The Rush Garden, with its meticulously landscaped pathways, vibrant flora, and peaceful ambiance, is situated amidst the historic surroundings of Independence National Historical Park in the heart of Philadelphia. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore its winding trails and engage with the rich history of both nations, evoking a sense of unity and shared values.


As we stand at the crossroads of 1776 and 2026, the return of the Bicentennial Bell and its placement in the beautifully revitalized Rush Garden will symbolize the continuity of the principles that have guided our nations for centuries. It will be a testament to the unwavering friendship between two nations, separated by history but united by a shared commitment to liberty and self-determination. The Rush Garden, like the Bicentennial Bell, will stand as a living testament to the enduring bond between our nations, a bond forged in the crucible of history and strengthened by the shared pursuit of freedom and democracy.


Submitted By Raymond E. Foster

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