Korean Friendship Bell Sounds again in Los Angeles

D-Bo, Jan. 14, 2014, 4:10 p.m.

It has been more than 37 years since the first time the Korean Friendship Bell rang in California. The bell came as a gift from South Korea in 1976 to mark the 200th year birthday for the United States.  The bell rang 5 times in a year: on Korean Liberation Day, U.S. Constitution Day, Korean American Day, the 4th of July, and New Year’s Eve.

Slowly though, the bell started to wear out, and even lost a link during a bell-ringing ceremony. The bell ended up becoming a home for some birds, and even became vandalized with graffiti on the inside. Years have passed and the Korean Friendship Bell remained in its condition, unable to ring for the people to hear.

This past Friday though marked the day when the bell would ring again. Officials from Los Angeles and South Korea gathered to hear the bell ring once more. South Korean Consul General Yeon-sung Shin spoke in front of over 100 people on Friday, before ringing the bell a total of 14 times, 1 for each of the original 13 colonies, and a last one for good luck. Shin stated the the ceremony war “touching and beautiful”

The bell needed $300,000 to replace the broken link, and some Korean Bell Masters to restore the 17-ton bronze masterpiece. The Korean Friendship Bell Preservation Committee helped coordinate the efforts of the South Korean government.. Ernest Lee, the group’s lead, tracked down the South Korean company that cast the bell to begin with, and had them complete the restoration.

Peggy Lindquist of San Pedro was excited to hear the bell once again. “It does something to you. It is so moving, so spiritual,” she told The Times in a previous interview. “I just started crying .... I’m not a waterworks person, but when I hear it, it makes a mess out of me.”

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