Bell tapped by one who feels liberty’s weight

    The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day remembrances today included a symbolic ringing of the Liberty Bell, triggering a nationwide bell ringing.

    The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day remembrances today included a symbolic ringing of the Liberty Bell, triggering a nationwide bell ringing. A special guest did the honors.

    James Bain was released December 17th after being wrongfully imprisoned for 35 years in Florida for the kidnapping and rape of a 9-year-old in 1974. DNA tests eventually proved he did not commit the crime.

    He came to Philadelphia as a guest of the Martin Luther King Association for Non-violence to start the nationwide bell-ringing by tapping the Liberty Bell. Bain said that reading Dr. King’s words helped him survive prison.

    Bain says he holds no ill will in the case and just wants to spend time with his ill mother, adding that getting to see here has been the best part of his newly won freedom.

    Bain: I don’t normally cry, that’s something I don’t never do, but when I seen her in the house in her bed, tears came to me at that point, because it was not longer a visit, it was a permanent visit at that point.

    Bain’s tap on the Liberty Bell triggered the ringing of the Centennial Bell in Independence Hall Tower. Then bells rang out across the nation to celebrate the anniversary of Dr King’s birth.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.