This Sunday will mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. And it will be commemorated here in McDowell with the tolling of the bells.
The long and very bloody war that devastated so much of the world finally came to an end with the signing of the armistice (or ceasefire) on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
At 11 a.m. this Sunday, bells in McDowell County, across North Carolina, and throughout the world will toll in unison to commemorate the centennial of Armistice Day. When the armistice ending World War I was signed on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11 a.m., bells rang in celebration around the world. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the armistice, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is encouraging local history groups and community organizations to ring their bells 21 times at 11 a.m. this Sunday, according to a news release.
Many communities across the state are planning special exhibits, parades or other programs to enhance awareness of World War I, veterans’ service, and the sacrifices that war entails. To date, a variety of organizations, including courthouses, museums, universities, and churches, have pledged to ring bells in more than three-quarters of the state’s 100 counties.
In McDowell County, many churches have agreed to ring their bells to mark the occasion and to celebrate the ideal of peace that created Armistice Day 100 years ago. Some of the larger local churches that have been contacted and plan to participate in this event include the First Baptist Church of Marion, the First Baptist Church of Old Fort, the First Presbyterian Church of Marion, St. John’s Episcopal Church of Marion, Old Fort United Methodist Church, the First United Methodist Church of Marion, Living Waters Tabernacle of Old Fort, and many of the 33 churches in the Blue Ridge Baptist Association, according to the news release.
If your church hasn’t yet been contacted, please join in and add your bells to the chorus.
The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is working in partnership with the World War I Centennial Commission and the local chapter of Veterans for Peace to promote bell ringing on Sunday, Nov. 11. Additional partners include the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.