Fourth of July festivities in the Green Bay area kicked off Friday with the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
The bell sits on the lawn of the Brown County Courthouse, and for more than a decade, has served as a symbol of freedom in the community.
It wasn't our nation's birthday though, but the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, that brought the Liberty Bell replica to Northeast Wisconsin.
"Just months after 9-11 we conceived the idea of bringing in the bell, we've been using it for 9-11 ceremonies and 4th of July ceremonies every year," says area resident David Gauthier.
Gauthier led the campaign to raise the $60,000 dollars needed to purchase the bell and stand.
It's purpose is simple, he says, it's to unite the community.
"A great piece of Green Bay, I mean we do a lot of things right here that we don't have to be the biggest city to do it and the Liberty Bell is one of those things that we all came together, raised the private funds and the public partnership and something we celebrate on the 4th of July and many other times throughout the year," says Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.
The bell weighs more than two thousand pounds and was made by the same company in England that made the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
Just like that one, this exact replica should last for centuries.
"I always say it will be here at least 300 years, long after I'm gone. It's one of those anchors that is unchanging in the lives of the people and citizens," says Gauthier.
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