The Bell of Hope at St. Paul's Chapel in Manhattan rang yesterday for the victims of the massacre in Norway last week.
It tolled for the victims of the bombings in London, it tolled for the victims of the train bombings in Madrid, for the bombing victims in Moscow and for the shooting victims of Virginia Tech. And now it has tolled in honor of the victims of the massacre in Norway. “The Bell of Hope” at St. Paul’s Chapel was given to New York City by the City of London a year after the September 11 disaster. Yesterday Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee welcomed Norwegian Consul Aslaug Nygard, to ring the bell for Norway. Said Mallonee:
“We ring the bell in solidarity, and follow a pattern of four tolls, four times each, which is how firefighters honor their comrades.”
After Mallonee said a prayer and invited to a brief moment of silence, Nygard stepped forward to speak before ringing the bell.
“This bell carries messages of remembrance, hope and peace,” she said. “Norway was struck on Friday by double attacks, many people lost their lives, many were wounded. Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel. It is a national tragedy when there’s such a meaningless loss of lives – those young people had hopes and dreams. But our answer to it is more tolerance, more openness, more democracy.”
And she turned to the people who had gathered:
“People of New York, you know how this feels. Thank you for the solidarity and sympathy you have shown us. God Bless the victims and their families.”
St. Paul’s Chapel opened in 1766, and is the oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan. Here George Washington worshiped and it was here that September 11 recovery workers received round-the-clock care. St. Paul's is a center for worship and the arts, a community of reconciliation, and a place of pilgrimage for all people. The 650-pound bell 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 - September 11, 2001." It was cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.