imageIt happened again. I broke down and cried. And once again, it took me by surprise. As I stood in line waiting my turn, I saw masses of people-all kinds of folks- from this country and from foreign lands waiting their turn too. Like the tangled historic roots among cobblestones, bricks, asphalt and concrete-their faces were solemn even anxious as they quietly waited, I’m sure mine was too. I read again the history of it. The difficulties, the immense courage of men in another day and time, the decision made knowing what it would cost them.image

I saw so many other landmarks, so much more history, walked in the old cobbled paths read about for a lifetime. I didn’t break down at Betsy’s House or in Ben’s Business, I didn’t even break down as the tour guide pointed out- place after place where history was being made so many years ago. I didn’t break down at Christ’s Church, though I was deeply moved.

Dare I say it? I love this country. I love the red, blue and white star spangled flag and even though it is off-key I do love to sing the national anthem. I still put my hand over my heart when I pledge the flag. Every. Single. Time. I get exasperated with my country, the kind of exasperation I feel when I find a new wrinkle or another gray hair. Not the kind of exasperation that would ever make me want to give up on her, my roots are among those cobblestones, bricks and concrete too.image

This country is Strong and Freedom has always been Fragile. What started as a Dream, a Pursuit and a Bill of a Dozen Right Ideals were formed in the Fiery Furnace, a Foundry filled with the lives and fortunes of a few good men. On a heavy wooden beam their hopes were mounted and hoisted up with the strong belief that there was a better way to form a more perfect union. No one noticed it was imperfect, that a hairline crack had formed. After loudly proclaiming freedom-there was always the possibility that it could break, the ringing could be silenced and the whole idea would become a shining part of world history. image

A dozen years ago, I saw it. I broke down and cried. It took me by surprise then and it took me by surprise again last week. I saw masses of people yearning to be near her, I saw my own family pause by the Liberty Bell- The Liberty Bell spoke to me gently in passing and then I cried.  She stands silent, she stands in full view of Constitution Hall- a Strong Fragile Lady aging gracefully, unruffled and calm.. Even her tiresome quarreling children became quiet and reverent, desperately trying to be more perfect, more united in her presence. Beneath the hem of her garment, created equal with certain inalienable rights-Liberty’s children share her Love of Freedom.  This Southern Belle knows a true Lady when she sees one. Lady Liberty, I salute you, Darlin’.

May God’s generous Grace, His unmatched Mercy and His abiding Love continue to shine His Glorious Light upon you.image

Our Holiday Vacation was an inspiring trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The City of Brotherly Love and the Birthplace of Freedom-where the Lovely Ladies are Strong, the Goodlookin’ Men are Brave and the Children of Liberty strive to be Far Above Average.*

Love y’all, Camellia

*quote- is a play on Garrison Keiller’s statement about the fictional Lake Woebegone – ‘Where the women are strong, the men are goodlooking and the children are all above average.’

All photographs are mine- from Old City, Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin’s Print Shop, Elsfeth Alley, Constitution Hall and of course- Liberty Bell Center

9 thoughts on “Strong but Fragile…

  1. You were in my neck of the woods. I’m about 90 miles from there, we could have had lunch! And I agree, that whole place is so moving. Not just the Liberty Bell, but Independence Hall. When I am in there, I am taken back in time to that hot, hot summer imagining all those very brave men in their way too hot clothes debating their future – and ours – and being brave enough to sign away their land, their money and their very lives. It is an over-whelming experience.

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    1. Oh too bad! It’s odd but living in the South we don’t mind going somewhere cold in the winter- yes, I am overwhelmed when I think of it..the Liberty Bell seems the perfect analogy for democracy and freedom in our country! truly…thank you Lorrie! xoxo

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  2. Indeed our liberty- our freedom- is both extremely fragile and something easily taken for granted. In our world of over- communication and self- interests, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and the many sacrifices that have been made over the years. I love the photo with the old roots and cobblestones … our heritage- it’s a tangled mess sometimes, but it’s our mess, and as a community, we are stronger than we think we are.

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  3. You were near me. I live just north of Philadelphia. (You have many friends up here!) The last time I was moved to tears was at the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington. Sobbed like a baby. I didn’t expect it. It snuck up on me as I saw column after column of people who sacrificed the ultimate. There were folks putting roses for a loved one long gone. It was so moving. I am always astonished at how much people are willing to sacrifice for freedom. I only hope that I would have had the courage to do the same.

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    1. oh! thank you Kate! what a treat it would have been to see you! Yes, I broke down at the Viet Nam memorial as well..but I had reason, my cousin, a Marine, had been there only 3 days when he was killed- I saw his name – he was so young, a gentle soul. Courage comes in many forms and darlin’ I believe you would rise to the occasion! A well spoken comment, Kate! thank you! xoxo

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