Let Freedom Ring? You Bet!

At the National Bell Festival, “let freedom ring” is more than just a patriotic bon mot, it’s a call to action. Each Independence Day, we gather at the foot of the Taft Memorial and Carillon – just steps from Union Station and the National Mall in the heart of Washington, D.C. – to set bells ringing with flag-waving fervor.

By resolution of Congress, the Carillonneur of the Capitol plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other Americana favorites from the 11-story bell tower at 2:00pm every Fourth of July. The national anthem was followed by such hits as “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” and “My Country, 'Tis of Thee.” The sounds wafted to the U.S. Capitol over the bustling crowd securing coveted spots for the dazzling fireworks to come.

Beneath the undulating tolls and cascading melodies, Bell Raisers gathered. Having brought a patchwork of blankets and towels to carpet the grassy memorial knoll, baskets were soon unladed of nibbles, munchies, and refreshments for a delightful and abundant Independence Day picnic. Century-old oaks provided ample respite from the summer sun, while the antics of a local troop of squirrels entertained the young and young-at-heart.

This annual family-friendly concert provides a bit of elegance and tranquility ahead of the raucous displays of sparkling fireworks later in the day. It’s a chance to meet a neighbor, explore history, and celebrate America on her birthday. Didn’t make it this year? Don’t worry – we’ll be back! Ink your calendar now for 2:00pm next Fourth of July and we’ll see you there!

Keep exploring.

Learn more about the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon and the 27 bronze bells that resound within.

Cover image: Bell Raisers pose beneath the Taft Memorial and Carillon in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2022.