Bells of Peace to ring out, marking 100 years since end of WW I

As the sun sets across Newfoundland on Nov. 11, a special afternoon ceremony is taking place to mark the end of the World War I.

The Royal Canadian Legion is ringing the Bells of Peace across the country this Remembrance Day.

"This is our way of sort of finalizing the war," said Berkley Lawrence, president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Newfoundland and Labrador Command.

Throughout the last four years, Lawrence said there have been a number of special ceremonies to commemorate the 100th anniversaries of various battles — like Beaumont-Hamel — during WW I.

On Nov. 11, 2018, the special ceremony will mark the end of the war completely.

The ringing of bells is significant, Lawrence said, because they were left silent during the war.

The Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command/Facebook

"When you ring a church bell in a town, it signifies something significant is happening, so everybody is to come to answer the bell go to the church, go to the town hall, wherever, and that means there's a gathering," he told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"So if you did that during the war, that would signify to the enemy that there's a gathering somewhere so what a perfect place to attack, to drop a bomb," he said. "So consequently, church bells were silent until Nov. 11, 1918."

When the war ended, and they were allowed to ring the bells once again, "they rang them loudly," Lawrence said.

'Join in and celebrate'

This Sunday, in addition to morning ceremonies and events throughout Remembrance Day, Lawrence said legions across the country have organized co-ordinated sunset ceremonies. In Newfoundland and Labrador, 4:29 p.m. is the designated time.

"Even though sunset might be a little different in Port aux Basques than in St. John's, we're asking everybody to do it at the same time."

Malone Mullin/CBC

Lawrence, as well as various government officials, will be hosting the ceremony at the War Memorial in downtown St. John's Sunday afternoon, starting around 4 p.m. before the bells ring and a 21-gun salute rings out on Signal Hill.

If you can't make it to a ceremony near you, Lawrence said the legion has a request.

"If you have a bell in your house — [like] a dinner bell — then at 4:30 ring your bell 100 times just to join in and celebrate the peace of 100 years."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show

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