Rally held to celebrate return of the Victory Bell

Tradition · Members of the Trojan Knights stand with the Victory Bell at a rally the organization hosted in Hahn Plaza Wednesday.  - Mariya Dondonyan | Daily Trojan

Tradition · Members of the Trojan Knights stand with the Victory Bell at a rally the organization hosted in Hahn Plaza Wednesday. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily Trojan

The Trojan Knights hosted a rally in front of Tommy Trojan Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the return of the Victory Bell, the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual USC and UCLA football game.

The bell gets painted in the colors of the winning school. Though the bell has remained “true blue” for the past three years, it was restored to cardinal and gold when USC reclaimed it after Saturday’s 40-21 rout of the Bruins.

Members of the Trojan Family stood before Tommy Trojan and awaited the band, who marched in at noon accompanied by the Song Girls.

After leading the band in “Fanfare” and “Fight On,” band director Arthur C. Bartner pumped up the crowd.

“Did we beat the Bruins?” he yelled, receiving cheers in response.

Bartner then gave a speech about the true symbol of gameday,

“Now people think it’s Tommy Trojan, people think it’s Traveler, no! It is the sword,” he said. “But we’re not here to honor the sword; we’re here to honor the Victory Bell!”

After the band played “All I Do is Win,” Dr. Bartner introduced Clay Helton, USC’s newly permanent head football coach.

Helton thanked the Trojan family for their support at the football games the past season and commended the players for “fighting through some adverse conditions to bring home the Pac-12 South championship,” before ringing the bell.

The Trojan Marching Band then played “Tusk” before Bartner presented fifth-year senior Cody Kessler, who spoke about his experience as a third-year starting quarterback.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my career playing at the Coliseum by beating UCLA and bringing home the Victory Bell,” Kessler said.

He also proceeded to ring it, drawing claps and cheers from the audience.

The rally ended with the So-Cal spell out and “Conquest.”

Students, faculty, staff and others in the community then received the opportunity to ring and take a picture with the Victory Bell. University President C. L. Max Nikias was among those who rang the bell.

Andrew Li, a freshman majoring in business administration, attended the rally.

“I’m glad we finally got to have the Victory Bell back at USC for the first time in three years,” he said. “Hopefully we can have it here during all four of my years.”

The Knights obtained the Victory Bell from the UCLA Rally Committee Monday. The Victory Bell has been a completely student-run tradition since the Knights stole it from UCLA in 1941 and a deal was brokered by the student body presidents of both schools in 1942.

Will Orr, president of Trojan Knights, went to retrieve the bell along with other senior members and partake in the tradition for the first time, since USC hasn’t won since he’s been at school.

“To be able to come back around senior year as president, go over to UCLA and just to pull the bell out of the heart of Westwood was one of the best days ever,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Repainting it was a long and involved process, according to Donald Annarella, communications director for Trojan Knights, After retrieving it from Westwood, the Trojan Knights spent five hours sanding off the UCLA blue paint before painting the bell cardinal.

“The Victory Bell is a symbol both schools hold in high regard,” Annarella said. “It only adds to our prestige, image and tradition when we actually have the bell and maintain it.”

The Trojans have two more important games before the end of the season, but for now the University celebrates the conquest of UCLA.

“We are very, very proud to bring the Victory Bell to USC,” Helton said.