When the “War to End All Wars” ended on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11 a.m., one London newspaper began its story: “Bells burst forth in joyful chimes.”
One hundred years after Armistice Day brought a close to World War I, more than 1,000 communities across the United States will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War’s end. Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. local time, “Bells of Peace” will ring to mark the occasion.
At Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral, retired Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen will oversee the bells tolling 21 times at 11 a.m. Eastern time to honor those who lost their lives during World War I, according to Betsy Anderson, program coordinator for the Bells of Peace, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. Mullen served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007-11. The commission suggests tolling the bells 21 times, symbolizing the 21-gun salute, the nation’s highest honor.
In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this year issued a proclamation calling on “all citizens across the state to toll bells in remembrance of those who served in World War I.”
Commemorations in Alabama at 11 a.m. Sunday include a lowering of the wreath and tolling of the bells on the fantail of the USS Alabama in Mobile; a bell-ringing ceremony at the Levi Watkins Learning Center at Alabama State University in Montgomery; and the Samford Hall chimes ringing at Auburn University.
People can also participate on their own by going to the WWI commission’s website and downloading the Bells of Peace app. “As the built-in countdown timer reaches 11 a.m. local time, the Bells of Peace will toll” from the device, Anderson said in a U.S. Department of Defense release.