2018-11-07

One hundred bells will mark anniversary of peace

by Janice Middleton

On November 11, at the going down of the sun, communities across the South Shore, across Nova Scotia, across Canada, and around the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with the ringing of 100 bells.

The ringing of bells emulates the moment in 1918 when church bells across Europe tolled as four years of war came to an end. When you hear the Bells for Peace toll on Remembrance Day, organizers are asking people to be sure to take a moment to pause and remember all those who served and sacrificed.

Initiated by the Royal Canadian Legion National, the bells will ring at sunset on Remembrance Day at five second intervals at Parliament Hill, city halls, places of worship, military bases, Naval vessels and at ceremonies across the country to honour Canada's Veterans and commemorate the end of the First World War.

The British and German governments are issuing a unique joint appeal to communities across the world to ring their church, military and other bells in unison on Armistice Day - an end, in sound, to more than four years of First World War commemorative events. Bells will ring out across the world to replicate the outpouring of relief that took place in 1918.

In wartime between 1914 and 1918 regulations introduced under the Defence of the Realm Act severely curtailed the amount of bell ringing that could take place in the United Kingdom. This, together with the departure of so many men to the front, meant that church bells were rarely heard.

At home, the war costs were high. In the first part of the 20th Century, the population in Nova Scotia was about 500,000, and of the approximately 95,000 men in the province of eligible age to serve, 35,000 enlisted with 4,500 giving their lives to the war effort.

The Canadian War Museum reports that some 619,636 enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the war, and approximately 424,000 served overseas. Of these men and women, 59,544 members of the CEF died during the war, 51,748 of them as a result of enemy action. Many more returned home broken in mind and body. A further 172,000 Canadians were wounded with 138,000 listed as battle casualties.

No accurate tabulation exists for Canadians who served as volunteers in the Royal Navy or British Army. An additional 1,388 Canadians died while serving with the British Flying Services, the museum notes on its website.

Remembrance Day ceremonies

Legion Branches and communities will host commemorative ceremonies and special activities to help Canada Remember.

In Chester the Veterans Bus will leave the Legion at 10:30 a.m. for the Cenotaph. The parade will form up at 57 King Street at 10:45 am to march to the Cenotaph at 10:55 a.m. where the ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and proceed afterwards back to the Legion hall for luncheon and comradeship.

At approximately 4:45 p.m., the public is invited to join together at the three churches in Chester, and following a few brief words and a reading of the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, which was written on May 3, 1915 while still at the battlefront in Ypres, Belgium, the bells will toll 100 times in remembrance.

The Bridgewater ceremony is set for the Cenotaph at the corner of Victoria Road and York Street. The Drum Head Ceremony will begin at approximately 10:45 a.m. before the main ceremony at 11 a.m. In the event of rain, the ceremony will take place at HB Studios Sports Centre at 543 Glen Allan Drive.

Mahone Bay begins with a 9 a.m. church service at the St. James Anglican Church, after which a parade will form at the Mahone Bay Legion at 10:30 a.m. to march to the Cenotaph. After a two minute period of silence and wreath laying there will be a light luncheon served at the Legion hall.

In Hubbards, a bell ringing ceremony at St. Luke's Anglican Church begins at 4:30 p.m.

In Lunenburg, Donna Kelly, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23, said "we are participating in the Bells of Peace and five churches in town ring their bells 100 times at 4 p.m. The Act of Remembrance used by the Royal Canadian Legion states that 'at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.' "

Marchers will gather at the Legion on Duke Street at 10:15 a.m. to take part in the service at 10:45 a.m. at the large four-sided granite Cenotaph at the north end of King Street on the grounds beside the Town Hall on Cumberland Street.

Rain venue is Central United Church, Cumberland Street. Wreaths can be purchased from Lunenburg Legion by calling 902 634-4217 between 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

In Queens County, Remembrance Day services are being held:

Sunday, November 11, 2018, 10:45 a.m. at Astor Theatre, Liverpool

Sunday, November 11, 2018, 10:45 a.m., Summerville Church of Christ

Sunday, November 11, 2018, 10:30 a.m., Milton Community Hall, Milton

Sunday, November 11, 2018, 10:30 a.m.,Greenfield Cenotaph, Greenfield

Sunday November 11, 2018, 10:45 AM North Queen's Community School

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