Q: Is the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia sounded any more?
A: Yes. At 2 p.m. Friday, child descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence will gently tap the bell 13 times to honor patriots of the first states.
Also, the bell is lightly tapped every Jan. 15 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. This began in 1986 at the request of his widow, Coretta Scott King. — Independence Hall Association.
Q: So, why did the Liberty Bell crack in the first place?
A: It was probably poor workmanship at its London foundry.
The one-ton bell cracked during a test strike when delivered to the Pennsylvania State House, now Independence Hall, in 1752. It was recast twice in Philadelphia.
True, it pealed on July 8, 1776, for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. But it also was sounded for other many occasions, including fires.
It’s unclear when it cracked for good.
Some say it was in 1824 during honors for the Marquis de Lafayette, or later that year when used as a fire bell. Others say it was during the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835. City records show it last rang for George Washington’s birthday in 1846.
See it at Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia. — history.com.
Q: Can businesses overuse U.S. flags?
A: “The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.
“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discarded.
“Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.” — United States Code, via Congressional Research Service, 2008.
Q: Where did President James Madison live after the British burned down the White House in 1814?
A: The Octagon House, a three-story brick house at 18th Street and New York Avenue Northwest, Washington, was home to President and Dolley Madison as the White House was rebuilt.
He signed the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812 in the circular room above the entrance. — National Park Service.
Q: We have the White House. Who has the Blue House?
A: The Blue House is home to South Korea’s president in Seoul. Its roof tiles are blue.
Q: I see state names are now spelled out in the newspaper.
A: Most newspapers follow Associated Press style, and AP recently changed it on abbreviating state names within news stories.
For example, it was the rule to write, “Stowe, Vt.” But copy now should read, “Stowe, Vermont.”
The change does not apply to datelines or headlines.
Also, The AP recently made a change that ruffled many editors, who were taught to always use “more than” rather than “over,” as in, “It cost more than $10.”
Now, AP says “over” is correct, too, prompting one cranky editor to quip, “More than my dead body.”
Q: What did Mark Twain (1835-1910) say?
A: “We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.”
Use your liberty at Just Ask, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839, or Send an E-mail to justask.