While George H.W. Bush’s life was celebrated in Texas on Thursday, his legacy was also honored in Rochester.
A small crowd gathered to pay tribute to the former President and recognize him as a veteran through a bell ringing ceremony at Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial.
Bell of Honor Voice of a Grateful Nation is an organization that strives to bring honor and respect to heroes who have given their all – and pn Thursday, they honored the nation’s 41st President.
“I think its very important to remember who the people are, who serve our country,” Bell of Honor Chairperson Jan Throndson said. “Who runs to the fight versus who runs away from the fight.”
A total of seven tolls rang during the ceremony, each with a distinct meaning. The first six are to honor those who have responded, served, protected, defended, sacrificed and suffered. The last toll signifies loss of life.
While the bells rang out, a flag was presented in remembrance of the President by an active duty soldier Philip Kujawa.
“It’s good to remember where we come from, and how we got to where we are,” Kujawa reflected. “And as a part of the military its good to be able to honor the people before us, so they know they’ll never be forgotten.”
The ceremony wrapped up with taps on the trumpet.
Others in Rochester who weren’t at the ceremony, also had a chance to reflect on the life and legacy of the former commander in chief.
“He was a great man. Filled with integrity, honesty,” Rodger Johnson said.
“Just as a family man, his legacy with his wife, Barbara” Elizabeth Ritman said. “We appreciate him more now than we did in the 80’s and 90’s than when he was president. ”
“He was a great man and there’s been all this publicity lately of what a great man he was,” Ron Bymers said. “The amount of publicity he’s received in the last few days, and I think its deserved.”
The Bell of Honor committee also provides bell ringing and ceremonies for other heroes who have died while serving – such as public service officers and fire fighters, emergency medical services and police officers.