(CBS 3) PHILADELPHIA Hundreds gathered this Fourth of July at Independence Hall to see what freedom meant then and what it means now. A ceremonial bell marked 231 years since our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
Recent debates over immigration, homeland security, and terrorism make it clear that securing the blessings of liberty for all Americans remains an ongoing and complicated struggle — further confirmed by the political protestors who marched across the street.
Our view of the past has become more complicated as well. The archeological dig for remains of our first president's house revealed even George Washington struggled with the concept of freedom, as he kept nine slaves illegally in the free state of Pennsylvania.
Actors performed part of the play "A House with No Walls," exploring the conflict of America's ideals — with the reality of slavery next to the Liberty Bell.
Yet the signers of the Declaration of Independence gave us the country and freedoms we enjoy today. So we honor them and their descendents, who were cheered on as they symbolically tapped the liberty bell.
It is our continuing struggle for freedom that makes us truly American and why so many people gathered by the Liberty Bell to watch freedom ring this Independence Day.