March 12, 2007
An Official Monument: Bell Towers
A monument can be something erected in honor of a tradition, as well as a person or an event. Bell towers, such as those found on the U of M North and Central campuses, are monuments built in honor of a civil loyalty. Traditionally, according to the article on Bell Towers at Answers.com, they are in the center of a city or town, often attached to a church or other important civil building. They are most prominent in Europe, and not commonly built anymore. They are kept for their historic value because the history of civility has great importance to Western culture. The bell tower demands attantion, partly because they are usually huge, and in the Middle Ages when they first began appearing, were the tallest building in a town. They also chime loudly once an hour, as well as to signify important events. Before the invention of hand held watches, cell phones, and other time-telling devices, and before most people were literate, the bell tower was a valuable source of information for the inhabitants of the town. Historically, important documents were kept in bell towers.
Now, the practical use of bell towers has ceased, and they exist as a familiar symbol of greatness. Because of their size, sound, and style of architecture, they draw the people of the town to one place, presumeable usually in the center of everything. They unify, yet reign over the people of the town to remind them that they are part of something greater, and that a civic duty, along with the moral codes that come with it, are important to the furthered existence of the town, and everyone along with it.
Bell towers exist on university campuses such as U of M to keep this tradition alive, and remind the students of the seriousness of their studies. One of the biggest messages you get in college is that you are not alone, and what you make of your education is not only important to you but the people around you. That is probably the most important thing I've taken away from this ADP class so far.
Posted by sarahcl at March 12, 2007 10:28 PM