DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA (Jan. 4, 2015) -- Community leaders, including the commander of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, or ESC, rang in the New Year in Gukchae-bosang Memorial Park here at midnight, Dec. 31.

The most significant part of the ceremony occurred at midnight. Selected representatives from around the community hoisted a wooden beam to ring a large and magnificent bell 33 times.

Brig. Gen. John P. Sullivan, commander of the 19th ESC, was one of the selected citizens invited to ring the bell 33 times to welcome the New Year.

"I feel honored to attend and participate in such an amazing event," Sullivan said. "I enjoy every opportunity given to celebrate Korean culture and strengthen our friendship."

The New Year's bell-tolling ceremony marks the end of the year and the start of a new year. The ceremony originated from a Buddhist event. Buddhist temples struck the bell 108 times to break the 108 torments of mankind on New Year's Eve.

The modern New Year's bell ringing celebration began in 1953 after the liberation of the Republic of Korea. The bell is rung 33 times to honor the 33 leaders who read the Korean Declaration of Independence in the Japanese colonial era.