9/17/14 Wednesday in Lebanon,PA (Hershey Campground-TT)
We were on our way to Philadelphia by 8 am, since it was at least an hour and half trip. Going via US 322, PA 72, then I-76 (toll road) and I-676 was easy enough. It got really congested as we drew near, so my “Waze” (GPS phone app) guided us along side streets to get past the I-76 clog, then back onto I-76 in time to catch the I-676 to the Visitor Center. Wonderful help!! This took us right to the Parking for the Visitor Center. Such a relief, for the first time in a large city. ($17/day parking).
This is a National Park, so I got my stamps in the Passport book while John got our tickets to Independence Hall (free). Such a beautiful fall day again. A bit crisp but not really humid. This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed as well as the Constitution. In fact today (Sept 17) is Constitution Day!! So cool. We didn’t even realize until they told us.
Just inside is a painting including all those who attended the signing of the Constitution (created when the Articles of Confederation weren’t working). George Washington (about 6 feet tall) was the leader and sat in the center chair. You see the actual chair he sat in. The man in front that you only see from behind is Mr. Broom from Delaware. He’s the only one the artist couldn’t locate any images of.
The area above was to the left as you walk in. To the right is the courtroom, with a “prisoner’s box” where the prisoner stood. Thus the prisoner had to “stand” trail. The witness had to stand also (that’s why it’s called the witness stand). Their is a large hall in between the courtroom and signing room, where the onlookers could fit when the issue drew a large crowd.
Not far away is where they keep the Liberty Bell. You read a lot of its history before seeing the bell itself. The quote on the bell: “ Proclaim Liberty Throughout All The Land Unto All Inhabitants Thereof.” (from Leviticus Ch 25, Verse 10).
When we got back to the Visitor’s Center we found out that because it’s Constitution Day, the National Constitution Center was open for free today. ($15/person) so we couldn’t pass up that opportunity! They have a marvelous show (with a live actor) called “Freedom Rising”. A must see. No photos allowed. Then we got in on the birthday cake party at noon – including a rousing speech by “George Washington” (we gave the “Hoozah” several times), and “Happy Birthday” by the little band.
They have the dates each state signed the Constitution with their flag hanging above. Now we know why the Delaware license plates read “The First State”.
Then we explored “The Story of We the People”, a wonderful exhibit of the history of our Constitution and all the changes through the years. At 4,400 words the US Constitution is the shortest and oldest written national constitution still in existence. (227 this year). Did you know that the introductory phrase “We the People of the United States’ was an 11th-hour addition to the US Constitution’s preamble by Pennsylvania delegate Governor Morris?
At this point we took a break at the “Delegates” Restaurant downstairs. Good food for reasonable prices. John had a hamburger and onion rings while I had buffalo chicken salad and a fruit cup.
Off to walk the city and visit other places.
Betsy Ross House. This is adorable, well worth the $4 for a tour. The sweetest little lady portrayed Betsy Ross. She was quite the patriot – even making musket cartridges in her cellar where the British wouldn’t find them.
This was Ben Franklin’s home town as well. Did you know he was the oldest to sign the Constitution, at 84? He was suffering from kidney stones and gout, so that’s why he’s depicted sitting in the painting above. The second photo is of the foundation lines of his house. The concrete structures give a glimpse of the underlying brickwork that still exits.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Park, where many bodies were buried over the years.
As you can see, Philadelphia is lovely city, with great green spaces. Here is an image of one of their of skyscrapers as we left.
I-76 was pretty congested as we left (around 3:30pm), but cleared up in time. Nice drive home. We were pretty tired when we arrived, though and enjoyed a leftover supper.
That night both of us had upset tummies. I didn’t sleep well, but John did. We think it’s our leftovers….