AMVETS Carillon, National Cemetery, Salisbury
A rectangular bronze plaque with a black background is attached to a steel pole. In
relief, above the inscription, is the logo for the American Veterans of World War II, Korea and
Vietnam. Commemorated was a carillon, which is traditionally considered to be a musical
instrument, housed in a bell tower and played by a keyboard. In this case the carillon is a digital
system connected to a set of speakers. The bells were to be played at all burials and special
occasions but as of 2016 the system had not operated for a least five years per cemetery staff.
Image (courtesy of Natasha Smith): AMVETS Carillon marker and Pennsylvania Monument
AMVETS / PRESENTED AND DEDICATED / A CARILLON / AS A LIVING MEMORIAL / TO AMERICA’S VETERANS / WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY / FOR THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM / JULY 21, 1984 / SALISBURY NATIONAL CEMETERY / “AS THESE BELLS RING…HONORED DEADREST…FREEDOM LIVES…”
Salisbury National Cemetery
July 21, 1984
35.659280 , -80.474870 View in Geobrowse
"Cemeteries - Salisbury National Cemetery," United States Department of Veterans Affairs, (accessed January 22, 2012) Link
Powell, William S. and Beverly Tetterton. 2006. "Cemeteries, National and State," NCpedia.org, (accessed August 19, 2013) Link
“Carillon Program,” AMVETS National Service Foundation, (Accessed March 3, 2016) Link
“Helms Talks Tough Defense To Veterans,” Salisbury Post (Salisbury, NC), July 21, 1984, 1, 16
AMVETS (American Veterans)
Several hundred people attended the ceremony including veterans of World War Two, Korea and Vietnam. Senator Jesse Helms was the key note speaker and used the stage to call for a continued strong national defense and against Communism. Three musical selections were played on the bells during the ceremony to include “Amazing Grace.” The plaque was unveiled by AMVETS National Commander Robert L. Wilbraham and Donald M. Skinder from the Veterans Administration. The Salisbury-Rowan Chorale Society also participated in the ceremony, singing the national anthem and other patriotic songs.
The AMVETS Memorial Carillon program dates to 1948 when AMVETS sought an appropriate memorial to honor those who had given their lives in World War II. After studying the commemorations of other organizations to the dead of other wars, AMVETS decided that a “living” memorial in the form of a carillon was most appropriate. The first carillon was installed at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and dedicated by President Harry S. Truman on December 21, 1949 with his now immortal words that form part of the Salisbury plaque inscription, “…As these bells ring …honored dead rest … freedom lives…” The Salisbury carillon was the 28th installed. As of 2016 a total of 92 carillons had been installed across the United States with more still to come.
The historic section of Salisbury National Cemetery is located at 202 Government Road in Salisbury. The marker stands near the main entrance to the cemetery, next to the Pennsylvania Monument. The Gettysburg Address Plaque and the Bivouac of the Dead Plaque are located a short distance from both memorials.
The bronze plaque attached to a steel pole stands on the cemetery lawn, surrounded by shady trees, bushes and tombstones.