Did I ever tell you about the time I saw the Liberty Bell, that great American icon?
The family was visiting Philadelphia, doing the tourist thing. We learned a lot about Ben Franklin, visited Betsy Ross's low-ceilinged rat warren, and saw the Liberty Bell.
It's a big attraction for visitors, of course, so a whole crowd was--well--crowded into the display room. The guide explained that the bell's significance was mainly symbolic, that it had a checkered history, having cracked the first time it had been rung, been repaired, then recast, then, after a while, cracked again. How deflating--another Great American Myth.
Nevertheless, when I moved up to touch it, I burst into tears. And I'm tearing up now as I write. Symbols hold power.