VFW and auxiliary hold annual July Fourth bell ringing ceremony, barbecue
By LYNETTE SOWELL
As part of a longstanding Independence Day tradition, The Olan Forest Smith Post 8577 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary held its annual bell ringing on the 4th of July.
Nationwide, VFW posts ring the bell of freedom and liberty each Independence Day, with the time coinciding with 12 noon Eastern time.
“It’s based off 12 o’clock Eastern time, so depending on what time zone you’re in is when you ring the bell,” post commander Herb Wright explained about the 11 a.m. timing. Usually there are young people who help ring the bell as the name of each of the thirteen Colonies are called out. Wright said that the high school’s JROTC and the Boy Scouts troop 258 have helped ring the bell in the past, as have the children and grandchildren of post and auxiliary.
Prior to the bell ringing, Wright read from a proclamation issued by President Gerald Ford on June 29, 1967, which called for the observation of the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence “by the simultaneous ringing of bells throughout the United States at the hour of two o’clock, eastern daylight time, on the afternoon of the fourth of July, 1976, our bicentennial Independence Day, for a period of two minutes, signifying our two centuries of independence.”
There was a resolution also adopted by Congress in June 1963, calling for the anniversary to be
be observed by the ringing of bells throughout the United States.
Wright acknowledged the various groups within the post which helped make the day possible, to include the 40/8, the American Legion, as well as the Military Order of the Cooties and the Post Auxiliary.
Copperas Cove Mayor Frank Seffrood was present for the ceremony and said a few words.
“We deserve the fourth of July—the original fourth of July for our celebration,” said Seffrood. “There used to be a joke about the fourth of July when we declared our independence from Britain, a big celebration. My question is: do they have the Fourth of July in Britain? They still have one, but not near as great as ours. Because we have made it over the years a strong and willing country that will help everyone, whether we were once a part of them, or we helped over there. People like you, that volunteer and you expand that idea. I thank everyone here for being part of this assembly today, citizens of Copperas Cove. And we have people who are not citizens of copperas cove that are just as welcome, that are all strangers, but when they leave, they are not.”
After the ceremony, those who attended went indoors where a barbecue potluck lunch was set out. Wright said volunteers began smoking the meat on site at the post on Friday night. Approximately 50 attended the observation and lunch on Tuesday.