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King Holiday Liberty Bell Ceremony Off Due To Shutdown

Matt Slocum
Tourists to Independence National Historical Park take photographs through a window of the closed building housing the Liberty Bell, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018, in Philadelphia. The building is closed due to the partial government shutdown.

Officials say a ceremony held annually at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday will not be held this year due to the partial government shutdown.

Dr. William Tucker, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Nonviolence Inc., which sponsors the yearly ceremony, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that it will be the first time in 36 years that the ceremony will not be held. A symbolic bell-ringing is planned instead at a hotel before the association's annual luncheon.

Most buildings in the Independence National Historic Park including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center have been shuttered due to the shutdown. An appeal for money to pay staff to reopen Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell over the holiday weekend fell short.

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