A bell taken by a US soldier from a church in Bauang, La Union during the Philippine-American war is returning to the country.
Stars and Stripes, a daily paper serving the US military community, reported that the bell has been “crated up” and prepared for return to the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Bauang town.
The bell rung for the last time on Friday after the celebration of the Holy Mass at the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel of the the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), which is more popularly known as the West Point.
The report said the bell fell into the hands of Lt. Col. Thomas Barry during the Philippine-American War that lasted from 1899 to 1902.
Barry, who was an 1877 graduate of West Point, gave the bell to his alma mater in 1915.
After it was taken out of storage in 1959, the bell has since hung outside the chapel, with a placard that read in part, “Symbol of peace that even the ravages of war could not destroy.”
US Navy veterans Dan McKinnon and Dennis Wright paved the way for the church bell's return to the Philippines.
The two servicemen, who worked on the rehabilitation of the Clark Veterans Cemetery, joined forces to attempt the repatriation of the famed bells of Balangiga, Eastern Samar, which was taken by the United States Army during the war.
The quest led them to the bell taken from La Union, which hung at West Point, and through the help of professors from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, they have proven that the church bell is indeed a property of the Catholic church in La Union.
West Point's superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen agreed to have the bell returned to the Philippines after receiving a letter from the pastor of the Saints Peter and Paul Church.
“While we have been honored to guard and display this bell for the past several decades, we would be glad to return the bell to its rightful home,” Caslen said.
Source Credit: GMA News