World War I Commission announces ‘Bells of Peace’ on Armistice Centennial
Published 10:15 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The World War One Centennial Commission, along with the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the Society of the Honor Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, announced Bells of Peace: A World War One Remembrance.
Bells of Peace is a collaborative program, whereby American citizens and organizations, across the entire country, are invited to toll bells in their communities 21 times at 11 a.m. local time Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.
Conceived and designed in collaboration with the nation’s veterans of service with the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the bell tolling provides a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and service of veterans of World War I, and all veterans.
Bells will be tolled in communities across the nation, in places of worship, schools, town halls, public carillons, and cemeteries, to mark the centennial of the Armistice that brought an end to hostilities, in what Americans fervently hoped had been “The War to End All Wars.”
This nationwide program is designed to honor those American men and women who served 100 years ago, during World War I. The war ended by an armistice agreement between the warring countries at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
The World War I Centennial Commission has created a page on its website: ww1cc.org/bells where people can find information and tools to conduct the bell tolling, and to meaningfully commemorate the service of their local World War I veterans.
World War I took place between July 1914 and November 1918, and was one of the deadliest conflicts in world history. Over nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war. The United States officially entered the war on April 6, 1917. Some 4.7 million Americans stepped forward to serve in uniform during the war, 2 million of them were deployed overseas to fight, and 116,516 of them never made it home.
The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission was established by Congress in 2013, to provide education programs, public outreach, and commemorative events regarding the American involvement in the war. The Centennial Commission was also authorized by Congress to create a new national-level memorial in the nation’s capital, to honor the men and women who served. Information on the new National World War One Memorial can be found at www.ww1cc.org/memorial.
The American Legion was founded by three World War I veterans in 1919, as a veteran support organization made up of former and current U.S. military members. Throughout its history, The Legion has been committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in America’s communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and support for service members and veterans.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars was founded in 1899, to support all honorably-discharged service members, from any military branch, who served the U.S. in wars, campaigns, expeditions, on foreign soil, or hostile waters. The VFW grew rapidly after World War I, with hundreds of thousands eligible veterans returning from the war. Today, it stands with the American Legion as the two largest veteran service organizations in the world.
While it is a Congressional Commission, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission operates largely through private donation. The founding sponsor for the Centennial Commission was the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, in Chicago. The leading sponsor for the Centennial Commission is the Starr Foundation, based in Washington, D.C. Other major supporters include the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, the Bloomberg Foundation, and the General Motors Foundation.