ECU honors veterans in founders week ceremony
(Mar. 29, 2005)
East Carolina University officials honored military personnel Tuesday with a ceremony in front of the university's Victory Bell, a 382-pound brass bell with a military history dating back to 1855.
The second annual service, which is aimed at honoring faculty, staff and students who are serving or who have served in the military, is part of ECU's Founders Week celebration.
"This moment provides a way for us to pause in the hectic world we live in and say thank you," said Bill Shelton, ECU vice chancellor for university advancement.
Cast in Philadelphia in 1855, the bell was used on the USS Broome, which was christened in 1919. During World War II the ship escorted convoys across the Atlantic. The Victory Bell was a gift to the college from the United States Department of the Navy. It was dedicated on campus in 1953 and was traditionally rung to celebrate an athletic victory.
James Bruner, an ECU professor emeritus and a retired captain in the United States Navy, spoke at the ceremony and offered some history of Navy bells.
"Bells were rung once every half hour and were a time keeping device," he said. "The were also used as a warning device."
Bruner suggested that community members ring the Victory Bell for all celebratory occasions — from births and weddings to the announcement of new leaders at the university. He also advocated moving the bell from its current location next to Christenbury Memorial Gym to a more prominent location near Minges Coliseum and Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. University officials are discussing the suggestion for the university's centennial celebration in 2007.