Dad exited the radiation therapy room yesterday morning, and headed straight for the bell in the waiting room. In three or four minutes, Dad’s nurse, Dr. Chronowski, and two radiation therapists, along with several fellow patients, had gathered round to witness the bell ringing to signal the end of his treatment. Mark and Hannah stood nearby with cameras poised.
Mark had previously told Dad that the ringing of eight bells on board ship traditionally signaled the end of one’s watch. Amidst smiles and laughter, Dad purposefully tolled the bell eight times.
The “ringing out” ceremony was initiated by Rear Adm. Irve Lemoyne in 1996. Engraved on a brass plate adjacent to the bell is the following poem: Ring the bell three times well, it’s toll to clearly say my treatment’s done, this course I’ve run, and I am on my way!