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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.