On this Fourth of July, I can’t help but remember a school field trip that changed my life.
It is typical of me to poke my Irish nose where I shouldn’t.
Liberty Bell in . Philadelphia
Everywhere on a prickly spring day back when I was a first grader, the nuns bustled about, running after their charges and trying to keep them together. Little girls in green uniforms and pigtails.
Me among them.
The Sister of Charity in charge gasped loudly, then blessed herself when she saw me lean over the rope and drag my finger down the crack in the famous bell. Needless to say, she made me say five Hail Marys for my sin.
Oh if the founding fathers could see what you’ve done, she told me, raising her eyes to heaven.
They didn’t, but it made no difference to Sister Regina Marie. I spent the rest of the field trip sitting in a corner, staring at the Liberty Bell and doing my penance.
I couldn’t help it. I was secretly pleased that I had “touched” history.
And that’s how I’ve been ever since. Touching history in my own inimitable way, whether it’s up close and personal visiting museums and historic sites or writing about it in my novels.
Which brings me to one of my favorite passages in my historical romance, Titanic Rhapsody, when my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, arrives in
on the rescue ship Carpathia and
sees the Statue of Liberty for the
Glory be, Katie couldn’t believe she’d done it.
Walked right past the immigration authorities with her nose up in the air and her heart in her throat.
She was in
She’d never forget the moment the Carpathia steamed past the Statue of Liberty, rain pouring down with lightning streaking through the sky overhead and making her tingle down to her toes. A grand feeling it was. And now she was here.
Not once did they look at her and say she didn’t belong. Smiling and tipping their hats to her like she was a lady.
Katie came to
to be free. Free to be her own person and to be treated as an equal. America
On this Fourth of July, let us give thanks for the gift of freedom and pay tribute to all who came here seeking freedom.
Long may the bells of freedom ring…