by Terry Rogers
Franciscan Monk Brother David Schlatter of Wilmington began collecting church bells after 9/11 in New York and Washington, restoring them and ringing them in honor of those who perished during the terrorist attacks. The effort began as a remembrance to one of Brother David’s closest friends, Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain for the New York City Fire Department who was the first confirmed casualty at the World Trade Centers in New York.
On Thursday, May 2, one of those bells was installed at the Delaware Veteran’s Home in Milford in partnership with Delaware Hospice. In a Bell Dedication Ceremony, US Senator Tom Carper rang the bell for the first time at its new location. The bell will now ring in memory of any veteran who passes away at either Delaware Hospice or the Delaware Veteran’s Center.
“Over the years, Brother David has brought the bell to Camp New Hope’s Memorial Service in Bear and Milford,” Jennifer Saienni, MBA, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Delaware Hospice, said. “Due to scheduling and moving, Brother David donated the bell to Camp New Hope in memory of Delaware Hospice’s Bereavement Coordinator, Alex Tyree. However, due to the bell’s size, it was hard to move the bell throughout the state. Delaware Hospice approached the Delaware Veteran’s Home to see if they would be interested in partnering together to honor our state’s veterans. The Veteran’s home was able to establish a permanent place for the bell and it will be run every time a veteran passes at the home or the hospice center.”
In addition to the bell donated to Delaware Hospice and Delaware Veteran’s Center, Brother David has also donated seven of the Bells of Remembrance to the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. The Franciscan Center of Wilmington established a collection of more than 20 bells after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Over the years, the bells have been featured at many events commemorating 9/11, fallen armed services members and first responders. Brother David has spent the last few years establishing permanent placement for the bells. Four were dedicated to a memorial honoring the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut while two others were dedicated to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
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