A bell was unveiled in a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday as a monument to long-standing ties between the hospital and its sister facility in South Korea.
Named “the Friendship and Peace Bell,” it rang Wednesday in the dedication ceremony. It did not ring only to mark the unveiling but also because when the dedication took place it was Thursday in South Korea. That is Korean Independence Day.
|Lee Ha-sung (left), a Korean-American medical doctor in Los Angeles, Lee Chul (center), vice president for health sciences at Yonsei University and president and CEO of Yonsei University Health System, and Andrew Leeka, president and CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital, pose with the Friendship and Peace Bell. (Yonhap News)|
The bell dedication commemorates the 128-year relationship between Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and Seoul’s Severance Hospital at Yonsei University Medical Center. Founded in 1885, Severance was the first western-style hospital in Korea.
In the process of making the bell, soil collected from the sites of two hospitals and North Korea were used in a wish for the peaceful reunification of Korea and an everlasting friendship between Korea and the United States. The North Korean soil was donated by Lee Ha-sung, a Korean-American medical doctor practicing in Los Angeles.
The bell was made by Won Gwang-sik, who crafted the Bosingak Bell, which is designated as South Korea’s National Treasure No. 2.
According to news reports, 10 years ago while visiting South Korea, Good Samaritan Hospital President and CEO Andrew Leeka came upon a showroom of temple bells and enjoyed hearing them ring. He thought then that he would love to have such a bell at the Los Angeles facility. An agreement was reached, and in January Leeka went back to South Korea and saw the bell being cast.
Now, the bell hangs on the grounds of the hospital.
Severance and Good Samaritan hospitals are about half the world apart. Still there are similarities between them. Donations from members of the Severance family brought both hospitals into existence. Additionally, Good Samaritan’s staff includes 80 physicians who were trained at Yonsei University.
Severance Hospital was founded in 1885 by an American missionary, Dr. Horace N. Allen (1858-1932), as the Royal Hospital Kwanghyewon. Soon after its creation, the hospital was renamed as Chejungwon. As the hospital grew, it completed a new modern facility in 1904 in Seoul with donation by Louis H. Severance, an American philanthropist, and was named Severance Memorial Hospital.
Good Samaritan Hospital was launched in 1896 with assistance of Mrs. Mark Severance, who donated funds to purchase new property for its preceding hospital. She is related to Louis Severance.
The Friendship and Peace Bell will ring for annual events such as New Year’s Day, and possibly to wish for the recovery of patients, Severance Hospital said.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org