The “Bells of Peace” will ring out nationwide from smartphones on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” to mark the centennial of the end of World War I in November 1918, thanks to a new app created in honor of the anniversary.
About 10,000 have signed up so far for the free “Bells of Peace Participation App” which will work on either Apple or Android platforms, said Chris Isleib, a spokesman for the World War I Centennial Commission.
The App features a countdown timer to 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, and a selection of bell sounds that will go off 21 times, starting at 11 a.m.
“This is a great use for today’s smartphone technology. People in states, cities, towns and communities, will pause and remember our veterans as these bells toll for peace,” Daniel Dayton, the commission’s executive director, said in a statement.
The ringing of the bells will be part of a series of commemorative events nationwide on Nov. 11 to honor the more than four million Americans who served in the “Great War” and remember the 116,516 who died, the commission said.
“Throughout history, church bells have been used to mark moments of great sadness and joy,” Randolph ‘Randy’ Marshall Hollerith, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, said in a statement released by the commission. “As we make the centennial of the end of World War I, it is appropriate that we pause for a moment to honor those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.”
The ringing of the bells was an initiative of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at Arlington National Cemetery, and has been sponsored by the Commission and endorsed by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Similar events were planned worldwide to mark the armistice that ended the “war to end all wars” in which an estimated 17 million troops and civilians were killed.
In Britain, events are being coordinated by the Imperial War Museum. In Canada, the tolling of the bells was planned for sunset on Nov. 11 at the Cenotaph, the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
In announcing the British events earlier this year, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said that reconciliation will be the main theme for the anniversary.
“Bells will ring out across the world to replicate the outpouring of relief that took place in 1918, and to mark the peace and friendship that we now enjoy between nations,” he said.
The bell-ringing app can be downloaded at ww1cc.org/app.
— Richard Sisk can be reached at email@example.com.
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