Veterans' funerals traditionally include a flag presentation and the playing of taps on a bugle. But a veteran in Denver, Louis Olivera, says he was shocked and angry when, several years ago, he went to the funeral of his best friend's father, a World War II veteran, and there was no recognition of his military service. That experience motivated Olivera to create the Honor Bell, a 1,000-pound bronze bell that tolls at servicemembers' funerals.
The bell was forged in Ohio by a family company, and in addition to the bronze, it includes melted down dog tags, medals and other artifacts donated by military families in Colorado. It was unveiled last year and Olivera says since then, the bell has tolled 400 times at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver. Today, on Memorial Day, it will be heard at a ceremony at the Horan and McConaty memorial gardens in Centennial.
Olivera spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, and said he hopes the bell will toll at his own funeral.
"I will be buried at Fort Logan, and I hope that the sound of the bell is the last thing that's heard at my funeral," Olivera said.