The Bell of Hope rings every time terror strikes any part of the world. The City of London [Images] gifted the bell to the City of New York a year after the attacks of 9/11.
On December 3, St Paul's Chapel in New York City invited India's Deputy Consul General Dr A M Gondane to ring the Bell of Hope following the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Dr Gondane rang the bell 20 times to salute those who laid their lives in the attacks of November 26, in Mumbai.
The service began with the rector's prayer for peace and reconciliation. A prayer was said for the souls of the deceased and those affected by the attacks. After the service, Dr Gondane thanked the New York community for their constant support during the time of India's crisis.
"New York City and the church have shown great solidarity at our hour of distress and peril. We in India have been trying to maintain peace with our neighbour, but things seem to be going wrong," he told the gathering of 40 in the churchyard.
"New York has always been supportive because New York itself has suffered the rigors of terror and it knows the pain which is a consequence of such attack," the diplomat added. The Bell of Hope, he said, is symbolic and sends a message that there are peace-loving people in the world.
James Cooper, rector of the Trinity Church in Wall Street and the St Paul's Chapel, offered his condolences to the people of India.
"We have many members from the Indian community who come to our church. We can feel their pain," he said.
The series of 10 attacks that shook Mumbai has alarmed all major cities across the world, Cooper added.
He was a volunteer at the St Paul's Church during the attacks of 9/11. The church, located right across Ground Zero, provided shelter to rescue workers and fire fighters who were working at the World Trade Centre in the aftermath of those attacks.
"There would be chiropractors, doctors and several volunteers helping the victims for a period of 18-months following 9/11. We understand the pain of people from Mumbai," he said.
The Bell of Hope is rung every year on September 11. In addition, it has been rung after bombings in London and Madrid, for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre and now for the victims of the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Image: India's Deputy Consul General Dr A M Gondane rings the Bell of Hope following the terror attacks in Mumbai. Text: Ayoti Mittra. Photograph: Paresh Gandhi