Peace Bells Around the World
London Olympic Bell
The 2012 London Olympic Bell, pictured on April 15, 2020, on permanent display in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The International Friendship Bell
The International Friendship Bell, 8,000 pounds of bronze cast with images that symbolize the peace and friendship shared by Japan and Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Australia’s World Peace Bell
The Australian World Peace Bell was awarded to Cowra in 1992 for its long standing contribution to world peace and international understanding. Capital cities usually reserve the right to erect the World Peace Bell, however Cowra’s committment to the World Peace Bell’s objectives has meant Cowra was awarded the honour. The Bell is made of coins provided by 103 member countries of the United Nations, which were melted down and cast into the Bell. The Cowra Civic Square now proudly houses the Bell. The Pavillion is decorated with pottery tiles reflecting the community’s ideas about the World Peace Bell and its association with Cowra. An audio presentation has recently been installed at the Peace Bell, explaining the significance of the bell and its association with Cowra. A ceremony is held on World Peace Day – 3rd Tuesday in September – to mark the opening of the Disarmament at the United Nations.
Peace Bell of the Alpine Region
The ARGE-ALP, a cooperation of the Alpine countries was founded in 1972 in the Inntalerhof hotel on the initiative of Alfons Goppel (Bavaria), Silvius Magnago (South Tirol) and Eduard Wallnoefer (Tirol) in Telfs/Moesern. The bell of the ARGE ALP countries reminds people of peace and good neighborliness, thus has political, economic, cultural and tourism goals. Today 11 regions from 4 countries belong to the ARGE ALP: Tirol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg (Austria); Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg (Germany); St. Gallen, Ticino and Graubuenden (Switzerland); South Tirol, Trentina and Lombardei (Italy). On the occasion of 25 years of collaboration of the ARGE Alp countries, the inauguration ceremony of the peace bell high above the Inntal valley took place on Oct, 12 1997.
The “peace bell” is located on the southern edge of the Moesern village on a little hill offering a panoramic view of the Tirolean mountain world and the Upper Inntal valley.
The peace bell is hanging above a bronze plate (3.8 m x 10 m) featuring the names of all ARGE-ALP countries. In the center below the bell there are 11 national arms and the purpose of the foundation in German and Italian. The Peace Bell is Tirol´s largest bell. It is 2.51 m high and 2.54 m in diameter. The bronze bell weighs 10 tons, and the clapper alone more than half a ton. The bell rings daily at 5.00 pm and its sound can be heard far into the Upper Inn Valley. The impressive swinging of the bell is an unforgettable experience that can hardly be described.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
The Peace Bell is rung by visitors as part of their wish for Peace. The dome shape of the belfry symbolises the Universe. The bell weighs more than a ton. Around it wraps a map of the world with no national boundaries shown, to symbolise ‘One World’. This photo was taken in the Peace Park in central Hiroshima in November of 2000 during my two week trip to Japan.
A plaque by the bell reads,
Bell of Peace We dedicate this bell As a symbol of Hiroshima Aspiration: Let all nuclear arms and wars be gone, and the nations live in true peace! May it ring to all concerns of the earth to meet the ear of every man, for in it throb and palpitate the hearts of its peace-loving donors. So may you, too, friends, step forward, and toll this bell for peace! Dedicated September 20th, 1964 By Hiroshima Higan-No-Kai.
The World Peace Bell
The bronze bell is decorated with symbols of human achievements and inscribed with the words “The World Peace Bell is a Symbol of Freedom and Peace. Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Present and Inspiring Our Future”.
The carillon, (when finished), will consist of 84 bells ranging in size from almost 8 feet to less then 4 inches, not counting of course the 33 ton, 12 foot World Peace Bell. There has been some speculation as to how loud the bell will be. The residents of Newport are a little worried about their windows being shattered. This concern is generated by the legend of Big Joe, currently the largest bell in America.
The World Peace Bell, the largest free-swinging bell in the world, weighing 66,000 pounds, it was installed in 1999 at the Millennium Monument in Newport, Kentucky. This bell, a symbol of freedom and peace, was designed and cast by the world renowned Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, in association with Pierre Paccard in Annecy, France. The Verdin Company is the world’s largest supplier of bells, carillons, and clocks. The world’s largest swinging bell, and the largest Western bell outside of Russia; a “maiden bell” (un-tuned). The “planned weight” announced before casting (30 metric tons, or about 66,000 lbs) was deliberately misleading; the actual planned weight was 33 metric tons. As weighed at the foundry after casting, the bell is 33385 kg, or slightly over 73,000 lbs. Total swinging weight including clapper and yoke is about 104,000 lbs.
The Freedom Bell in Washington, DC
In 1981, the Freedom Bell was donated to the United States in celebration of the nation’s Bicentennial. It was cast specifically for the 1975-76 American Freedom Train by Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the same foundry that cast the original Liberty Bell.
The American Freedom Train carried the bell to all 48 contiguous states during the nation’s Bicentennial celebration. It was alternately called the Freedom Bell or the Children’s Bell.
It is nearly twice as large as the real Liberty Bell. The replica is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and First Street in front of Washington DC’s Union Station.
Freedom Bell in Berlin
The Bell was manufactured under great pressure of time. The work was carried out by the English firm of Gillett & Johnston from 25 June to the end of August 1950.
The bell was shipped from London and was taken through 26 cities in the USA, where 16 million Americans donated money and signed the declaration of freedom. After crossing the Atlantic again, the Freedom Bell finally arrived at Rathaus Schöneberg in Berlin.
Many schools and factories were closed for the dedication day on 24 October 1950. About 500,000 Berliners gathered on the square in front of the Town Hall and gave a rousing welcome to Lucius D. Clay and the American delegation, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Berlin Mayor Ernst Reuter and many other dignitaries.
Since then, the Freedom Bell has chimed every day at midday from the tower of Rathaus Schöneberg. Its sound has become the symbol of freedom in our city, the expression of American support for Berlin and the symbol of German-American friendship.
Japanese Peace Bell
The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from coins collected by children from 60 different countries, and housed in a typically Japanese structure, ressembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood.
It has become a tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of Spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on the opening day of the General Assembly’s yearly session in September.
In 1994, there was a special ceremony marking the fortieth anniversary of the Japanese Bell. On that occasion, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said: “whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity.
Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work — long, hard, difficult work.”
The Bell of September
September will see the dedication of not one but two very special Whitechapel bells in the USA. The first of these, a full size replica of the Liberty Bell, was cast here at the Foundry some months ago within yards of where its predecessor was cast a quarter-millennium earlier and commemorates the landing on American soil of the original Liberty Bell 250 years ago in September 1752. The other commemorates much more recent and tragic events and will be dedicated at Trinity Church on Wall Street on 11th September 2002, the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York City. (The existing ring of eight bells at Trinity Church were cast here at Whitechapel in 1797.) This bell is 31″ (785mm) in diameter and weighing approximately 650 pounds, bears the inscription:
TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD
AND IN RECOGNITION OF
THE ENDURING LINKS BETWEEN
THE CITY OF LONDON
AND THE CITY OF NEW YORK
FORGED IN ADVERSITY – 11 SEPTEMBER 2001
Okinawa Peace Bell
Okinawa became the final battleground between the invading US forces and the defending Japanese forces towards the end of WW11. It is remembered as one of the bloodiest battles in which more than 200,000 perished including US and Japanese soldiers and Okinawan citizens. Thus the Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall was constructed on October 1, 1978 on Mabuni Hill where the war practically ended, to symbolize the ardent wish of our people who abhor the recurrence of such a tradedy to befall any nation regardless of their nationality, race, creed, or religion. In the front garden is the Okinawa Peace Bell, a 9 meter high bell tower which was donated by the Lions International Club 337. The bell is rung five times a day to console the spirits of those who died in the war. It is also intended that the sound of the bell will carry the Okinawan people’s wish for peace across the Seven Seas and to every corner of the world.
250th Anniversary Liberty Bell
There can’t be many businesses you can return to for the same product after a quarter of a millennium and have it manufactured mere yards from where the original was made, but that’s what happened when USA Renaissance commissioned the Foundry to make a full-size replica of the Liberty Bell, complete with headstock and fittings. It also has rivet heads cast on its surface and a ‘crack’ engraved between them to match those on the original. The bell was produced to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the landing in the USA of the original in September 1752. Pictured with the bell are Foundry employees John Bentham & Ghulam ‘Raz’ Rasool, who made the headstock and assembled the fittings. This is not the first replica of the Liberty Bell to be cast at the Foundry and it probably won’t be the last. Two-and-a-half centuries later, and our relationship with the Liberty Bell continues.
THE QUEEN MUM
At 11.30am on Tuesday 9th April 2002, and in common with many thousands of others across the country, the directors and staff of Whitechapel Bell Foundry observed two minutes silence to honour the passing of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The beginning and ending of the silence was marked by the striking of the tolling bell in the Foundry yard. The last time this had been so tolled was in remembrance of the victims of 11th September 2001.
The Justice Bell
Washington Memorial National Bell Tower
Washington Memorial Chapel,Valley Forge
The Justice Bell was not rung until after the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 which gave women the right to vote.
The Justice Bell was used between 1915 and 1920 to call attention to and gain support for the campaign for women’s suffrage. The name came from the fact that the suffrage movement looked upon a woman’s right to vote as a matter of justice. The Justice Bell is a copy of the Liberty Bell with the addition of “establish Justice” to the inscription. The clapper of the 2,000 lb. bell was chained to its side silencing the Bell. Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger of Strafford, Chester County, Pennsylvania was the benefactor of the Bell. She was an active member of the National Woman Suffrage Association, which later became the League of Woman Voters. To call attention to the battle for women’s suffrage, she devised a plan which included the casting of the Justice Bell and taking it to the people of Pennsylvania. On June 15, 1915 the Justice Bell began a whistle-stop tour of Pennsylvania in support of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania State Constitution giving women the right to vote. The tour covered more than 5,000 miles in less than six months. It ended November 2, 1915 after crisscrossing the state and visiting villages, towns and cities in all sixty-seven counties. The Justice Bell now resides in the Tower Room of the Washington Memorial National Bell Tower at the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge.
The Korean Bell
This bell given to the children of the world in the spirit of peace and friendship from the Professors World Peace Academy October 20, 1988.The Korean bell, sent by Rev. Kwak to be hung at the Banner of Peace Monument, near Sofia, Bulgaria. The plaque reads: The bell comes from Korea where the Professors World Peace Academy was founded in 1973.
The NMHA Bell
During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained persons with mental illnesses by iron chains and shackles around their ankles and wrists. With better understanding and treatments, this cruel practice eventually stopped. In the early 1950s, the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) issued a call to asylums across the country for their discarded chains and shackles. On April 13, 1953, at the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, MD, NMHA melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: the Mental Health Bell. Now the symbol of NMHA, the 300-pound Bell serves as a powerful reminder that the invisible chains of misunderstanding and discrimination continue to bind people with mental illnesses. Today, the Mental Health Bell rings out hope for improving mental health and achieving victory over mental illnesses.