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Chorus of Church Bells to Ring Across Nation in Remembrance of the Fallen in Iraq

Bells Will Bear Witness to the Human Toll of War, Commemorate their Sacrifice, and Bring Forth a Moral Consensus on Next Steps in Iraq

Commencement Ceremony Thursday (9/1), 10:00AM;
All Souls Church, Washington, DC

Washington, DC: Religious leaders are calling for a coordinated tolling of bells to remember those who have lost their lives in Iraq. The National Council of Churches, Clergy, Laity Concerned About Iraq and Faithful America along with Democracy Rising are leading the call for churches and other religious institutions to take part in this healing. The groups were inspired, in part, by the actions of Gold Star Families for Peace seeking to understand why U.S. soldiers and Iraqis are dying.

"We are asking the faith community to remember our nation's fallen soldiers and their families by tolling their bells," wrote Vince Isner, director of "Let us all pause to remember their sacrifice, to remember their families as we seek God's help in sharing the burden of Cindy Sheehan, Celeste Zappala, and the other Gold Star families who are asking why their children had to die."

In an alert sent to 100,000 church activists, the National Council of Churches and Faithful Community are calling for a weekly nation-wide tolling of bells to extend the spiritual tone of Gold Star Families for Peace vigils and to deepen the moral dialog among Americans about whether the occupation should be continued or how it should be ended. Rev. Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches said: "People of all faiths can participate by ringing hand bells, school bells or any other available bells." The alert suggests the bells be sounded each Sunday, tolling once for every soldier who died the previous week. Churches may also opt to ring their bells every day and add one additional long bell for the deaths of Iraqi civilians.

"Ringing for Remembrance" will begin on Thursday, September 1 at a ceremony at 10:00 AM at the All Souls Church in Washington, DC (16th and Harvard Streets, NW). The church, founded in 1821 as the First Unitarian Church, has consistently offered a prophetic voice for justice in the nation's capital. Of particular relevance is the church bell, the Revere Bell of Freedom, was cast in the Revere Foundry by the son of Paul Revere, Joseph Revere. For many years this bell was one of the "official" bells of Washington, clanging to warn of a fire, or tolling to announce the death of a public figure. However, when the church tolled its bell in 1859 to mourn the execution of the abolitionist John Brown, it was denounced as the "Abolition Bell" and the city discontinued using it for public purposes. Since that time, the All Souls bell has been rung to bear witness to peace, justice and freedom.

The Rev. Robert M. Hardies, senior minister of All Souls Church, Unitarian, said this about the effort to raise awareness of the causalities of war: "It says volumes that the military is afraid to let war speak for itself. That they're afraid to let us see pictures of wounded soldiers, and unwilling to share Iraqi civilian body counts. They fear that if the truth got out about the cost of war, the people would decide it's not worth it. This is one small effort to remind people of the human cost of war."

Ralph Nader, who first suggested the project to the National Council of Churches, noted that "throughout the Iraq war President Bush has avoided mention of U.S. casualties, has consistently undercounted serious injuries, serious diseases and disabling mental trauma that occur in non-combat situations. His failure to participate in a single funeral and his administration's approach to transporting the wounded from Andrews Air Force Base to Walter Reed Medical Center in the cover of night, deprives these soldiers of the respect they deserve and prevents an honest discussion among Americans about the impact of this war."

"Although the White House continues to hide the arriving coffins of our soldiers and Iraqi civilian, our houses of worship will ring our national conscience concerning the spiritual, physical, and fiscal cost of war," added Rev. Sekou, a Pentecostal minister who works with United for Peace and Justice organizing the national interfaith coalition, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq.

This call to action demonstrates the growing breadth and depth of the anti-war movement. The people of the United States are more than ready for a conversation about how to get out of Iraq," concluded Kevin Zeese, director of Democracy Rising.

Contact Information

All Souls Unitarian Church
Rev. Louise Green
Rev. Rob Hardies
202-246-7670 (cell for Rev. Hardies)

Rev. Victor Isner
Faithful in Americans

Rev. Bob Edgar
The National Council of Churches

Rev. Osagyefo UhuruSekou
United for Peace and Justice,Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.
United for Peace and Justice,Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq
Hip Hop Caucus/PDA
202-545- 0113

Ralph Nader
Kevin Zeese
Democracy Rising
301-996-6582 (cell for Kevin Zeese)

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.
President & CEO
Hip Hop Caucus


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Wouldn't it be nice to see someone hit Bush in the head and ring his bell? Maybe it would put a little sense into it. Who knows, he might have a feeling of shame for starting this insane war. HAS HE REALLY GIVEN UP DRINKING? Was he on a month long detoxification while at Crawford? He sure does act like an alcoholic, thinks like one also.
A well known lecturer on Alcoholism once said "Attitude is the father of your actions" How true that is.. President Bush's attitude is by far the worst in all creation. Ring those bells to let the whole nation that Our Men and Women are dying for George W Bush and his war for oil.

I'm one of those recovering alkies..(Aug 1987). Bush may have given up drinking but he's a dry drunk. That means acting out like a practicing alkie w/o the booze (or in his case, maybe a few slips and binges here and there) He ain't going to AA meetings; he found religion. I have seen the faces and demeanor of alkies still wrapped up in the disease and with Bush, a couple of years ago I could have sworn he had the facial blotches of a drunk still at it.

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