President Rosemarie tapped the Rotary Bell with the gavel and we all stopped, we stood and we quieted down. Did you ever wonder how the tradition of the Rotary Bell began?
In 1922, U.S. Rotarians organized an attendance contest to see which club could increase their attendance at meetings the most. The challenge was that the losing clubs would join in giving the winning club a prize. The Rotary Club of New York City was declared the winner and they were awarded as a prize, a bell from a popular patrol boat, which was placed on a block of wood that came from HMS “Victory,” Admiral Nelson’s vessel at the battle of Trafalgar.
Since then, the bell used in Rotary meetings started to represent, as on the ships, order, discipline and the time to guide us through the weekly hour and a half meetings. The bell informs us with its sound the beginning of the meeting at which time people present should stand in order to salute the US and Rotary flags. The sounding of the bell concludes meetings and is also rung at somber times.
So, this was the last meeting here at Weber’s to ring the bell. We will be moving the bell and many of the other Rotary symbols that you see around our meeting space back to our historic home at the Michigan Union. The Past Presidents were invited to line up and pass the bell out the door to the Sergeant at Arms to move back to the Michigan Union.