US to sound ‘Bells of Peace’ on Armistice Centennial

Posted on on 04 July 2018
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Bells will be rung across America on November 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, in a collaborative project announced by the US World War I Centennial Commission. 

Bells of Peace is aimed at bringing together places of worship, schools, town halls and community organisations in a nationwide act of remembrance.

The call has gone out for pledges to participate at 11am (local time), marking the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month when the ceasefire ending WWI came into effect in 1918.

In Washington DC, the bells of the National Cathedral will toll at an interfaith service commemorating all those who served, and the 116,516 Americans who never came home.

'Bells of Peace' participants will include the National Patriots Bell Tower at the Washington Memorial Chapel - in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania - with its carillon of 58 bells. On November 11, the chapel's carillonneur, Doug Gefvert, will toll the 'bourdon' bell (the heaviest and deepest toned of the bells) to commemorate the Armistice of 1918 (Photo © Washington Memorial Chapel)

The Centennial Commission's announcement has been timed to coincide with the annual Fourth of July celebrations marking US independence.

At this time 100 years ago, soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force had just come through their first major encounters on the Western Front, taking Cantigny and Belleau Wood from the Germans.

On 4 July 1918,  American troops took part in the sucessful Australian-led operation to capture Le Hamel in the Somme, a prelude to the Battle of Amiens and the start of the victorious Allied 'Hundred Days Offensive'.

But in the last six weeks of fighting, US forces would face their biggest and bloodiest battle of the First World War in the Verdun sector.  Of the 116,516 Americans killed in WWI, 26,277 fell in the Meuse-Argonne forests.

Visit Bells of Peace on the US Centennial Commission website for information about taking part and resources.

Bells will also be rung at churches and cathedrals in Britain on Sunday 11 November 2018 as part of commemorations marking the centenary of the Armistice. 1,400 new bellringers are being recruited in memory of the 1,400 from the UK who were killed in the Great War. See Ringing Remembers for full details.

Source: US World War I Centennial Commission

Images courtesy of the US Centennial Commission and the Washington Memorial Chapel

Posted by: CN Editorial Team