A running record of our travels.
Entry for December 29, 2006
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Philadelphia


Having missed the turnoff for the commuter rail connection near our motel in suburban Cherry Hill, New ‘Joisie’ , we drove on into central Philadelphia this morning. With all day perking for $10, this didn’t turn out too badly after all. The city is easy to get about for a metropolis of almost 6 million people. While the inner suburbs of the city are seriously off the ugly scale, the inner city is clean, modern and relatively compact. The old part of the city is preserved as a National Park, managed by the Park Service. It contains what Americans honour as the birth place of their democratic system of government.


The old Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall, was the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It was here that the delegates of the 13 states met in 1776 to declare their independence from the British, so starting a war that cost more American lives than any other conflict to date with the except the American Civil War. Not much remains of the original furniture in the old State House. What has survived and still presides over the room where these significant events unfolded, is George Washington’s chair. Washington presided over the long debates that negotiated the Constitution from this chair. Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin, who was 81 at the time of the Constitutional Convention, puzzled over the carved sun motif on the President’s chair. He was unable to deicide whether the sun was rising or setting on the new nation that they were working to build.


Contrary to popular belief, Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence. He left the convention immediately after accepting the role of President. He had a war to fight!


 

2006-12-31 00:10:55 GMT
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