The University of Georgia chapel bell is one of the most recognizable structures on campus in Athens. It is lauded in university song as a place of joy and triumph, and each time the Bulldogs come away with a victory, students and alumni line up to ring the famed bell to sound the victory across campus.
But this week, the famed chapel bell will be rung for a much more sombre and moving reason.
The UGA chapel bell will ring 26 times Fri., Dec. 21, at 9:30 a.m. in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. One lingering bell-tone for each of the innocent victims.
To me, this is one of the most pure and simple tributes conceived yet. Bells can signify so many different things, and can invoke completely different emotions without ever changing their sound. The tone of the UGA chapel bell will the same sound that carries over campus after a rousing Saturday afternoon victory, but yet will sound immensely different on Friday morning.
No jerseys, shoes, flares, songs, helmets or bells will ever bring back those who were killed, nor will they ever be able to ease the pain of the families who have been utterly destroyed by this tragedy. But each little tribute…every little gesture…all the small offerings let those families know that we remember, and care about their loss.
The University of Georgia is offering a tribute using something that is timeless and poignant. Perhaps that is the school’s way of making the victims remain thought of in the same way…timeless, and poignant.