National Geographic : 1949 Jan
Shrines of Each Patriot's Devotion N. Y . Herald Tribune Editors Honor Freedom of the Press at a National Shrine of the Bill of Rights St. Paul's Church, Eastchester, now surrounded by the city of Mount Vernon, New York, overlooks the old village green where John Peter Zenger, German immigrant newspaperman, uncovered an election scandal 216 years ago. His trial and dramatic acquittal established the American right "of exposing and opposing arbitrary Power . . .by speaking and writing Truth" (page 66). Here Wilbur Forrest, Assistant Editor of the New York Herald Tribune, speaks at an annual ceremony dedicated to freedom of the press. Hall. He chose the site and main design of the fine old Philadelphia building, birthplace of the United States and one of the Nation's greatest shrines (page 54). In the Declaration Chamber, where the patriots of 1776 signed the document that might have been their death warrant, I saw the chairs and silver inkstand used on that first Independence Day. Next door stands Congress Hall, for 10 years the Capitol of the United States. There Washington was inaugurated for his second term and later delivered his Farewell Address. Near by, Philadelphia's master carpenters still meet in Carpenters' Hall, where the First Continental Congress convened in 1774. It met with a prayer for mercy "upon these American States who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor, and thrown them selves upon Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only upon Thee." How badly the Colonies needed heavenly help is brought home to the visitor at Valley Forge, or at Washington's early 1777 and 1779-80 headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey. Darkest Hour at Valley Forge At Valley Forge Park, Pennsylvania, sacred symbol of the suffering endured for freedom, more than 50,000 dogwood trees each May spread pink and white tribute over the scene where Washington's men left bloody footprints in the snow. This Pennsylvania State park is one of the few sites of great historical importance not under national control. Thousands of patriotic pilgrims at every season of the year come to this quiet, verdant valley where natural beauty contrasts so strik ingly with the travail there endured.