Teller Tales

The cover of the April Smithsonian pictures a photo of a large bell with a crack and the explanation “How the Liberty Bell Won The Great War.” Inside it adds “Saved By the Bell,” by Stephen Fried. As it entered World War I, the United States was politically challenged.

The United States joined the war in April 1917, started a war bond drive that raised $2 billion ($40 billion today) in six weeks, 11,000 billboards, 3,200 streetcars, drawings of the Statue of Liberty using a telephone, Uncle Sam carrying a rifle. At 5 p.m. eastern time they rang the bell, cracked, weighing 2,800 pounds. Bells across the nation sounded in response to the one in Philadelphia, home of the Declaration of Independence and Washington assuming command - a patriotic clangor from sea to sea. The train and bell crossed the country urged on by Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. It came to Topeka and Kansas City, many spots between and beyond.

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