Nelson Mandela died today in his home. He was 95. The civil rights icon is a legend and was highly respected even as he sat in a South African jail cell. In 1993, he came to Philadelphia and received the Liberty Medal with President F.W.deClerk. It was a hot summer day July 4 and President Bill Clinton joined the two statesmen at Independence Hall for the medal.
Afterwards, Mandela came back to a small room in Independence Hall where he met the media and answered questions. During his brief remarks, he said "Let The Liberty Medal serve as the lodestar which guides us, as South Africans, as we march to freedom. Let it be our pledge to you that we shall seize on the eternal principles of justice, liberty and peace, and set an example in their defense. Let it be the seal of an unbreakable treaty of friendship between our peoples which will be durable because it responded to the clarion call which Frederick Douglass made, because it respected the memory of those who have perished through the ages in quest for liberty".
Nelson Mandela then made his way to the Liberty Bell Pavilion,where he posed for photos with it. At one point, as he was touching the bell,he ran his fingers around the famous crack. Mandela then examined the historical icon all the way around and spoke privately with some park rangers and staff at Independence National Park.
As Mandela made his way around the mall, curious people would call to him and try to shake his hand. He was kept away from the crowds by security. Mandela was in Philadelphia that July 4 weekend for less than 36 hours. In his time here, people came away with lasting memories from his talks and of seeing him. Nelson Mandela was 95 years old when he died.
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