Ringing in the Millennium

The Liberty Bell will ring for the first time in over 150 years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the New Millennium.

Well, not really. While most people are planning their New Year 2000 party celebrations with their family and friends, and deciding on what brand of champagne to buy, we at the Liberty Bell Foundation have been asked by the Mayor of Philadelphia, Mr Ed Rendell, to share our exact replica of the worldfamous Liberty Bell for the city' s New Millennium celebrations on 31 December 1999 at Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence was signed.

Our replica Liberty Bell, which weighs over two tons, was cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in England to the exact specifications of the original, but our bell offers something the original doesn' t... it can ring!

Legend has it that in 1835, while tolling the death of Chief Justice John Marshall, the original Liberty Bell cracked and went silent. Though no longer rung, the Liberty Bell is 'tapped' every 4 July for Independence Day. The bell remains one of the United States' most treasured historical items.

To allow as many people as possible to enjoy what the Liberty Bell would have sounded like in 1835, we have placed our ringing replica on a platform that is attached to a flat bed truck to move it to different locations.

The plan is that various members of the Piszek family at the Liberty Bell Foundation will move the bell from neighborhood to neighborhood throughout the City of Philadelphia on 31 December 1999, and allow residents to ring in the New Millennium with our Liberty Bell replica. The bell will also be involved in a special late-evening parade just prior to midnight.

My only fear regarding this unique celebration is what will happen if the Y2K problem affects the city at the stroke of midnight. It really could be interesting. I just hope the Y2K problem isn' t all it' s cracked up to be!

Bill Piszek