West Point is now one bell poorer
The USMA last week lost one of its church bells, but that’s okay because it truly wasn’t theirs to begin with and, unlike legit war trophies like enemy weapons and banners, is better off going back from whence it came, namely the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Bauang, La Union, Philippines.
From Stars and Stripes:
The bell was removed from the church in 1901 during the Philippine-American War that lasted from 1899 to 1902. Bells were routinely taken as souvenirs, but at times they were removed for a military purpose – to prevent them from being melted down to make weapons.
At some point, the bell fell into the hands of Lt. Col. Thomas Barry, who’d been deployed to the Philippines in 1900-01. The West Point class of 1877 graduate, who eventually became its 27th superintendent, gave the bell to his alma mater in 1915. There, it was stored in a church belfry for 44 years before being rediscovered during an expansion in 1959.
It was then hung outside the chapel, with a placard that read in part: “Symbol of peace that even the ravages of war could not destroy.”