The Fleet Reserve Association’s “Two Bell Ceremony” provides dramatic testimony to the Humility, Dignity, Reverence and Honor. It fulfills the promise of our Preamble
“Our Reverence for the memory of our departed shipmates”
No documented evidence or knowledge could be found that identifies the origin of this beloved Ritual except that it is unique and ours alone.
Research of Naval History back to the time of Britain’s Lord Nelson finds no record of a Memorial Ceremony using the ship’s bell.
It is clear the sounding of Two Bells is the moment to pause and reflect on our shipmates who are now serving on the staff of the Supreme Commander.
In days past, “Two Bells” marked the end of a routine day aboard ship. It was time for “Tattoo” and soon “Taps” would sound through-out the ship. It is a most appropriate time to honor our departed shipmates.
Those familiar with one of the greatest stories of the sea, “The Ancient Mariner,” will remember that he found safe passage in narrow waters by listening to the bell on the marker buoy. That bobbing marker buoy sounds much like the tolling of a bell for a funeral dirge, Solemn, Reverent, and Mournful.
Since the beginning of recorded time, men of the sea have been guided and impressed by the sounding of the ship’s bell. In our “Two Bell Ceremony,” the tolling of the bell combined with the spoken word serves to strengthen the bond that exists among all shipmates of the Fleet Reserve Association.