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Salisbury VA to recognize veteran deaths with honor tones

SALISBURY  – Beginning Veterans Day, Salisbury VA will play eight honor tones throughout the Salisbury VA Medical Center to alert employees, visitors and fellow veterans when a veteran in the Medical Center has died.

The ringing of bells to announce a death date back through history, and at sea, sailors knew the time by the ringing of bells during each four-hour watch. The watch’s first half hour was marked with the ringing of one bell, adding an additional bell every half hour and ending with the ringing of eight bells at the end of the four hours. From this practice came the phrase “eight bells and all is well.”

Because the ringing of eight bells signified the end of a watch, it also came to be used for the death of sailors, to signify the ultimate end of their watch. As homage to this tradition, Salisbury VA will play a tone eight times from the overhead announcement system throughout the Salisbury campus whenever a veteran dies at the Medical Center.

“We hope that everyone who hears the tones takes a moment out of their busy day to remember the sacrifices that many veterans make during their service, and are reminded of the honor we have in serving veterans and their families,” said Joseph Vaughn, Salisbury VA Medical Center Director.

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