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Saluting the Sacrifice

The founding principle of the Honor Bell Foundation is to provide an opportunity for the rendering of a respectful, final honor at military funerals and memorial services. This is accomplished with the tolling of a bell — The Honor Bell — in a manner based in tradition and respect. This practice, known as rendering Bell Honors, is the last sound heard at a funeral and is tolled with an understated, solemn, and clear tone.

The Bell Honors Ceremony

At interment ceremonies, the Honor Bell is guarded and tolled by the Bell Guard. Tolling is the deliberate slow-ringing of a bell to elicit sorrow and show respect. While many bells are rung for joy, one tolls a bell for sorrow.

Rendering Bell Honors is performed in a tradition known as the "ancient tolling method," a perfect complement to the beauty of military rites. After the folded flag of the United States of America is presented to the next of kin, the Bell Guard provides a tribute of dignity, honor and respect with the Seven Solemn Tolls of the Honor Bell. The bell is tolled seven times, with seven seconds between each toll. The seven tolls represent the many stages in a veteran's life. Read more about the meaning behind each toll here.

After the rendering of Bell Honors, the Bell is not tolled again until the next Bell Honors mission.