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Bells to toll on Veterans Day

By Staff | Oct 17, 2018

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary The tower at Picture Rocks United Methodist Church where on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. a combined service for area churches will observe a nationwide ringing of "Bells of Peace" marking the centennial of the Armistice ending WWI.  

PICTURE ROCKS – When bells ring out across the nation on Sunday Nov. 11 observing the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (now Veteran’s Day), the United Methodist Church of Picture Rocks will be one of several churches and organizations serving as host sites.

The event planning is in response to a declaration by the National WWI Centennial Commission created by Congress in 2013, sponsors of the ‘BELLS OF PEACE’ initiative. Partnering with the commission are the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion who are encouraged to co-sponsor and publicize the event.

As Veteran’s Day 2018 falls on Sunday, it is appropriate that churches include bell tolling during their services. In the Picture Rocks area, neighboring churches will gather at the United Methodist Church on Laurel Street promptly at 10:30 a.m. Additional congregations participating will be the United Methodist Churches of Tivoli, Point Bethel and Kedron, and those from the Picture Rocks Baptist Church. (Handicap accessibility at rear of church).

Speakers for the patriotic themed program will be the Reverends Mel Saltzgiver and Jerry Uppling. Attendees will have opportunity to voice names of their late WWI veterans, either relatives or acquaintances.

Individuals are invited to bring their own bells to be rung simultaneously with the steeple bell. Bells are to be rung beginning at 11 a.m. for 21 times with five second intervals.

Rev. Uppling suggests that with adult supervision, youngsters take turns in pulling the rope. This exercise provides a great opportunity for youth to be involved, who in 50 years may be part of the next anniversary.

At the aforesaid and following services and sites, the public is welcome. As of this writing, those indicating they will be a part of the bell ringing initiative include the following:

Hughesville Trinity Lutheran Church. Clarkstown United Methodist Church, S. Williamsport World of Little League; Penn College; Veterans Park on Lycoming Creek Road; and Trinity Episcopal Church on W. Fourth Street where attendees at the 10 a.m. service will receive poppies and hear the choir and choral scholars present “Sing me to Heaven.” They will conclude with the centuries-old “Requiem in paradise.”

Also participating will be the Jersey Shore Presbyterian Church, the Lock Haven Great Island Presbyterian Church, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bastress where at 2 p.m., a rededication of the WWI monument is scheduled.

In a September newsletter, word of the proposed event was sent to more than 120 churches who are members of the United Churches of Lycoming County and all churches and organizations are encouraged to host or combine with others and participate in the tolling of the bells.

When the Great War ended on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11 a.m. in the European time zone, bells were tolled throughout the world marking the end of hostilities. On this the 100th anniversary, ringing of bells will honor those who served and died as remembered by current individuals and descendants.

According to the Centennial Commission, there were 116,516 Americans fatalities and more than 200,000 wounded. Approximately four million American families sent their loved ones to serve in the war that was to end all wars.

Pennsylvania is among others with state WWI Commissions. Both the state and nation commissions encourage photos be taken at events and forwarded for website posting. Include your local news media in sharing accounts and photos. For more information and suggestions for poems and songs go to www.ww1cc.org/bells.