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The Bell Honors

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.

Bell Honors are provided at no cost to the families of veterans as part of their loved one’s interment or memorial service.

The Bell Honors Ceremony

During interment ceremonies, the Honor Bell is overseen and tolled by the Bell Guard. Tolling refers to the deliberate, slow ringing of a bell, signifying sorrow and demonstrating respect. While bells are often rung for joyous occasions, tolling is reserved for moments of grief.

Ancient Tolling Method

The Bell Honors follow the “ancient tolling method,” blending smoothly with the dignity of military traditions. Once the folded United States flag is presented to the next of kin, the Bell Guard pays tribute with the Seven Solemn Tolls of the Honor Bell. Each toll, seven seconds apart, represents different phases in a veteran’s journey.

Once Bell Honors are finished, the Honor Bell falls silent until its next tolling mission.