Alyssa Keleshian Bonomo

Editorial: Eight Bells

Flags-editorial-3-11-FIThere is a tradition at Indian Harbor Yacht Club that we find comforting. When a member passes away a simple notice is posted under the words “Eight Bells” with the person’s name and the dates of their birth and death, and a dash in between. In the navy, they tell time differently than we do on shore. Bells are struck to designate the hours of being on “watch” or working. A bell is struck after the first half-hour has passed, two bells after one hour has passed, three bells after an hour and a half, and so forth up to the completion of a watch, which was four hours or eight bells. The practice of using bells came about because sailors could not afford their own timepieces and so the ringing of the bell informed the entire ship what time it was. When eight bells is struck, a person’s watch is over. read more...