The Meaning of the Honor Bell's Seven Solemn Tolls

At each funeral or memorial service for a veteran, the Bell Guard tolls the Honor Bell seven times. The bell is tolled seven times, with seven seconds between each toll. The seven tolls represent the many stages in a veteran's life. Each toll has a specific meaning:

The Honor Bell being tolled at a service for unclaimed remains at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

The Honor Bell being tolled at a service for unclaimed remains at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

Toll One: The Choice to Serve

This toll represents the veteran’s willingness to sacrifice their life for their country; a dedication to which few are called.

Toll Two: Camaraderie

The second toll represents the friendships, family, and unity that bond all service members together.

Toll Three: Patriotism

The third toll represents the veteran’s pride in their country, a duty to protect it, and the joy in celebrating the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.

Toll Four: Respect

The fourth toll represents the respect given to a veteran by their community, earned by them and owed by us, for their service.

Toll Five: Dignity

The fifth toll represents the dignity with which a veteran’s community treats their fallen hero.

Toll Six: Honor

The sixth toll represents the honor that is due to a veteran when they have died, given by their fellow service members and community.

Toll Seven: The Value of Life

The seventh toll represents the ultimate sacrifice that the veteran has made. Whether killed in action, or after long years of quiet service, the value of a veteran cannot be adequately described by words alone.