May 3, 2020 has officially been declared "Bells Across Pennsylvania Day" by the Pennsylvania State Mayors' Association. Beginning at 7 p.m. on Sunday and lasting for five minutes, Pennsylvanians possessing bells and houses of worship are encouraged to join the three-minute bell ringing salute.
Bells were specifically chosen as this occasion's instrument due to their rich history and symbolism: since the American Revolution, bells have been used to express communal gratitude, camaraderie, and resolve - and to an extent, of course, the Commonwealth itself since it houses the Liberty Bell.
The Bells Across Pennsylvania event was created for three purposes:
- To honor "hometown heroes" including first responders, healthcare workers, postal workers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, and others who are keeping their communities afloat.
- To show solidarity between all Pennsylvanians across all municipalities.
- As a demonstration of determination: a nonverbal declaration that Pennsylvanians will eventually prevail over COVID-19 and businesses and civic life will thrive once again.
Mayors and other officials are encouraged to hold "events" on Sunday as social distancing and shelter-in-place regulations allow. These include asking residents to do something special for a neighbor such as sending a postcard or giving them a phone call, or social media based events.