The Meaning of the Honor Bell’s Seven Tolls
At each funeral or memorial service for a veteran, the Bell Guard tolls the Honor Bell seven times, with seven seconds between each toll. These tolls represent the many stages in a veteran's life. Each toll has a specific meaning:
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.