News / Arts & Entertainment

Restored Friendship Bell Rings Again in Los Angeles

Restored Friendship Bell Rings Again in Los Angelesi
X
January 14, 2014 2:29 AM
It’s known as the "West Coast Statue of Liberty" to some South Koreans -- a gift from The Republic of Korea to the United States for the U.S. Bicentennial and a favorite place for Korean immigrants to visit. But over the years, the Korean Friendship Bell fell into disrepair. Now, though -- thanks to a team of artisans -- this symbol has been restored to its former glory. Mike O’Sullivan narrates for producer Deyane Moses.
Deyane Moses
Over the years, what's known to some South Koreans as the West Coast Statue of Liberty had fallen into disrepair. The Korean Friendship Bell was a gift from Seoul to the American people for the U.S. bicentennial.  It's become a source of pride for the area's Korean-Americans. 

Now, thanks to a team of artisans, the bell has been restored to its former glory.

The restoration of “The Korean Friendship Bell” is long overdue, if you ask Los Angeles resident Angelic Lee.

“I’m so happy. Good to see again,” she said.

In 1976, to mark the U.S. bicentennial, the Republic of Korea presented the United States with the 18,000-kilogram bronze bell.

“Many Korean American immigrants who come here, often tell me, when they feel homesick, this is the place that they think of and come and visit,” said Ernest Lee, a member of the Korean Friendship Bell Committee.  

Lee says this home away from home for many Koreans living in Los Angeles began to deteriorate after years of winter rains, exposure to salty ocean air, and improper maintenance. Korean Consul General, Yeon Sung Shin, remebers when he first saw the bell three years ago.

“The bell was not in good shape. The bell was on the ground," he said. "Disconnected. It was not properly cared for at all.”

But thanks to a large donation and artistic support from the Republic of Korea, the city of Los Angeles was able to restore the bell to its former glory.  Korean Bell Master Chai Dong-Hey and several South Korean artisans worked on the project for months.

“My portion is only a very small portion," Hey said. "After today, the Korean Friendship Bell committee will be responsible for its safety. Each and every day.”

For the Korean Bell Master, hearing the bell ring during the rededication ceremony is personal.

“It’s very great to hear because my teacher created it 38 years ago," he said. "And now I am able to fix it. It makes me very happy.”

Bells are symbolic in Korean culture, says Consul General Shin.

“This is the soul of Korean people. The history of Korean people. Heart of Korean people," he said. "Whatever issues you may talk about patriotism, respect for parents, friendship, whatever this can be symbolized through the sound of the bell.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a personal commitment to ensure the Korean Friendship Bell never falls into disrepair again.

“We put up some physical barriers for birds. We’ve made sure that there is maintenance that we can have around," he said. "So I feel very confident that we will. And it’s the very least that we could do for the kind gift, a second time, from the Korean people.”

The Korean Friendship Bell rings only five times a year - including America's Independence Day, July 4 and August 15,  Korean Liberation Day.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anh Caoto
January 18, 2014 6:45 AM
This is the soul of Korean people. The history of Korean people. Heart of Korean people," he said. "Whatever issues you may talk about patriotism, respect for parents, friendship, whatever this can be symbolized through the sound of the bell.
<a href="http://www.1nhap.vn/">y tuong tai nha</a> |
<a href="http://tieudunghay.com/">so mi nu</a> |
<a href="http://suckhoe123.com/">benh ve mat</a> |

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once for his work with The Hollies and once as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The legendary folk-rocker joins "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his latest project, “CSN 2012,” which captured on video recent live performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash.