America’s Liberty Bell was cast in England in 1752 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s constitution. It has been recast twice because of cracks. In 1846, it cracked as it tolled for George Washington’s birthday. That crack made Liberty unusable and was the last time the bell was rung.
Legend says the Liberty Bell tolled to announce the first reading of the Declaration of Independence. During the Revolutionary War, the patriots took the bell down and hid it to prevent the British melting it down into cannon balls.
Abolitionists in the 1830s chose the bell as their symbol and coined its name Liberty. They were inspired by words inscribed on the bell, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. After the Civil War, the bell toured the country, helping to heal the nation.
Today, Liberty is housed in Liberty Bell Center, Independence National Historical Park. Every Fourth of July, descendants of the Declaration of Independence signers tap Liberty 13 times to honor the patriots of the 13 colonies. At the same time, bells across the nation toll 13 times.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, this stamp gives us “freedom and independence from using one- or two-cent stamps” to cover increases in postage, virtually forever.