Protecting a Bell that Tolls the Story of Women Who Serve

When a neighbor needs help, you help them. That’s why, when the Military Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery mentioned they needed some help readying their museum and education center for upcoming renovations, we at the National Bell Festival leapt into action with a lending hand.

The Military Women’s Memorial is a one-of-a-kind tribute to America’s Servicewomen, past and present, featuring interactive exhibits and a world-class collection of military women’s stories and artifacts – all housed in a stunning colonnade of marble arcs and fountains at the head of Memorial Drive.

One such treasured piece of the collection: a bell commissioned in 1944 for the USCGC SPAR (WLB 403), named to honor the women who served during World War II as members of the original U.S. Coast Guard Women Reserve – the S.P.A.R.S.

The bell remained in service until February 28, 1997, after which it joined the collection of the Military Women’s Memorial. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Engineering Logistics Center contributed a stand to prominently display the bell. While no longer ringing on the high seas, the bell helps document all military women’s service. What a story to toll!

With construction crews due at the Memorial in the coming days, the team hustled to prepare and protect the historical repository. We couldn’t let anything happen to that bell! So we teamed-up with muscle from Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues to move the bell into a temporary conservation area. It will be brought back into view when the Memorial reopens to the public following renovations.

We were proud to help honor the commitment, contributions, and experiences of every woman who serves in, or with, the Armed Forces. Here’s to hearing that bell ring loudly and proudly again soon!