Bells of Peace ring out
Bells will sound across Canada Nov. 11
Sunset next Sunday promises to be a good time to step out the back door and listen carefully.
Wherever you are in Norfolk or Haldimand, chances are good you will hear distant bells ringing.
It’s all part of the Bells of Peace celebration, a Canada-wide tribute to the day 100 years ago when hostilities in the First World War finally ended.
“Bells call us to wake, to pray, to work, to arms, to feast and – in times of crisis – to come together,” Rev. Bryan Robertson, president and padre of the Royal Canadian Legion in Simcoe, said in a news release.
“On Nov. 11, 1918, the ringing of church bells erupted spontaneously across the country as an outpouring of relief that four years of war had come to an end. The Bells of Peace is designed to emulate that moment of remembrance.”
The Simcoe Legion has enlisted the support of local churches. The Legion also encourages anyone with a bell to ring it 100 times at 5 p.m. on Remembrance Day.
More than 619,000 Canadians enlisted in the First World War in support of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Nearly 66,000 died while another 172,000 were wounded. Of the dead, more than 250 were from Norfolk County.
The Simcoe Legion asks that all bells toll 100 times at five second intervals. Prominent participants include Trinity Anglican Church in downtown Simcoe and the Carillon Tower at the corner of Norfolk Street North and Wilson Avenue.
The Simcoe Legion encourages anyone with a close relative who fought in the First World War to participate. Churches and organizations that have transitioned to electronic bells are asked to play a selection of religious or patriotic music once the bell-ringing ends.
A lone bagpiper will play Amazing Grace at Governor Simcoe Square in downtown Simcoe after the bells fall silent.
Davy Jones, 94, of Simcoe, has been busy in recent days selling poppies on behalf of Legion Branch 79 on West Street. Jones served aboard the corvette Kamsack 171 in the north Atlantic during the Second World War. He thinks the Bells of Peace initiative is “a great idea.”
“An awful lot of people were killed in that war,” Jones said Monday. “And a lot of Canadians were killed in the six months leading up the Armistice.”
The Royal Canadian Legion, Dominion Command, has developed the Bells of Peace initiative in partnership with the government of Canada. The first bells will peal in Newfoundland and Labrador while the last will ring out at sunset in Victoria, British Columbia.
Second World War veteran Davy Jones, 94, of Simcoe, will be listening for bells at sunset on Remembrance Day. Everyone with a bell to ring is encouraged to do so at sundown Nov. 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. One of the local institutions taking part is Trinity Anglican Church on Colborne Street South in Simcoe.