The International Friendship Bell
“Born of war, living for peace, growing through science.”
This 8,000 pound bronzed bell is an enduring symbol of a peaceful relationship that grew out of a time of war. The International Friendship Bell resides in the heart of an East Tennessee city that played a crucial role in the development of the atomic bombs dropped on two Japanese cities during World War II. The work of thousands of people in the “secret city” helped bring an end to the war.
The bell came to Oak Ridge 25-years ago when the city was celebrating its 50th birthday. Eventually, the housing around the bell weakened leaving this peacetime gift just sitting on a concrete slab.
In September, following an extensive fundraising campaign and a year of construction, the new home of the International Friendship Bell was dedicated, and the sounds of the bell once again marked what can happen when differences are put aside and people work together for the common good.
Just a short distance away on the other side of a creek you can see where the bell once stood, a small platform with rock walls, almost hidden from view of the hundreds of cars that pass by on the Oak Ridge Turnpike each day. Now, in its new home, the Peace Pavilion and International Friendship bell will become a centerpiece of Oak Ridge’s next 75-years of history and beyond.