Skip to content

Subscribe  |  Login  |  Account

Bells will be ringing

Bells will be ringing, Annual 2017 Cape Cod Life |

Relief sculpture by Erin Lavin • Grade 10, Falmouth High School

On Martha’s Vineyard, Chandler was ahead of the curve; the shop owner had launched her initiative to revive Kennedy’s resolution with the help of fellow merchants a year earlier. Chandler’s connection to the tradition is personal as well as patriotic. Her father died when she was 18; her mother later gave her bells that had belonged to him. “I loved the bells and used them on the Christmas hayride every year,” Chandler recalls. “Over time, nearly all of them were lost.”

Her love for bells continued, though, which inspired her to carry a variety of them in her gift shop and led her to read Sloane’s book, where she discovered Kennedy’s resolution. She laments that “the tradition has been lost; we’ve gotten away from the meaning of the Fourth of July. We’re so fast-paced, so stopping for two minutes is poignant and necessary.”

Each year on the Fourth of July, Chandler passes her bells out along Main Street in Vineyard Haven just before 2 p.m., and picks them up afterward. She has also called on local churches to join in; First Baptist Church obliged in 2016, and Chandler hopes that more will follow suit. “You can ring bells wherever you are,” she notes, “even on a picnic. Everyone should have this freedom—everywhere.”

Liza Coogan, of Vineyard Haven, worked for Chandler years ago and has been active in the revival. She describes Chandler as “a lover of tradition, making sure each season and holiday is celebrated in a gracious way, her shop reflecting her belief that we are all in this together.” The annual event in front of the Vineyard Haven stores, Coogan adds, shows that “we are a community searching for truth and freedom in a world with so much pain and anguish.”

You might also like: