Replica Liberty Bell Makes a Surprise Visit in Pecos

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

PECOS - It's the only traveling-life size replica of the Liberty Bell, and on Sunday the symbol of Freedom and American pride helped one family remember their son in a surprise visit in Pecos.

35-year-old Johnny Mata, a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army died while serving in Iraq back in March of 2003.

Five years after his death in a chance meeting, the Mata family was surprised by the owners of the Liberty Bell who travel the Country honoring the families of fallen soldiers.

The bell was tolled seven times to honor Mata's sacrifice.

Hall says he and his wife were traveling from Phoenix and didn't plan the stop.

They ended up in Pecos and checked out the West of the Pecos Museum where they learned of Mata's sacrifice and decided to look up his family.

The bell also tolled 83 times at Ronald Reagan's funeral.