Sunday’s Veterans Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and organizations across the nation will be honoring it in a special way.
“There’s a national campaign to have bells in the community ring at 11 (a.m.),” Puyallup Historical Society president Andy Anderson said.
That campaign, called Bells of Peace: A National World War I Remembrance, aims to celebrate the end of World War I and commemorate those who served and sacrificed.
“This is a marvelous thing ... and tugs at the emotions,” said Jack Taylor, member of Puyallup Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2224. “A most fitting, appropriate 100th anniversary and commemoration of those who served and died in that war.”
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The United States participated in World War I from April 1917 to November 11, 1918, when the war ended with the signing of an armistice between the Allies and Germany.
An estimated 116,000 Americans died in the war, with 200,000 wounded.
History remembers the end of the war as taking place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran, said in an email with The Puyallup Herald that the initiative reminds him of his childhood, growing up in Philadelphia. Throughout the years after the end of World War II, he remembers air raid sirens sounding at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 in remembrance.
“We would all stop what we were doing and observe the moment. Cars would stop in the streets and drivers would get out of their cars and stand,” Taylor said. “Men would remove their hats. Pedestrians would stand and bow their heads. Shopkeepers would leave their stores and stand outside in homage. We kids would halt our games and stand reverently.
“When the sirens ended and the bells stopped, we all resumed our activities, a little more reflective, a little more respectful.”
Anderson anticipates the Puyallup Public Library, All Saints Parish, the Karshner Museum and Peace Lutheran Church in Puyallup will participate in the bell ringing. The bells are to be rung 21 times starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday for the Bells of Peace.
Any group or individual is welcome to participate and can do so through an app called “Bells of Peace: WWI Armistice.” On the app, interested parties can pledge to participate. A timer counts down to the time of the tolling.
The Bells of Peace campaign is sponsored by The United States World War I Centennial Commission, which Congress created in 2013 to develop programs and activities to raise awareness of the events of World War I.
After the Bells of Peace, the VFW, city of Puyallup, American Legion Post 67 and the Fleet Reserve Association are hosting an Armistice Day/Veterans Day event at the Pioneer Park Pavilion. Boy Scout Troop 598 will participate in the ceremony, along with speakers Democratic Congressman Denny Heck and Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup. Military memorabilia and World War I artifacts will be on display.
After the event, a gathering will be held at 3 p.m. at Grayland Park near the Community Memorial Building at 601 N. Meridian for the unveiling of a new plaque honoring those lost in World War I. Karen Black, mother of fallen Puyallup soldier Bryan Black, will be unveiling the plaque.
Grayland Park was purchased in the 1920s. Puyallup members of the Elks National Foundation planted commemorative trees in 1924.
“The City has agreed to re-place the plaque ... and we thought it would be appropriate to unveil it on the 100th anniversary of the armistice which ended the World War,” Anderson said in an email passed on to The Puyallup Herald.
About the event
What: Puyallup Veterans Day Program celebrating 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I
When: 1 p.m. Sunday (Veterans Day)
Where: Pioneer Park Pavilion, 330 S. Meridian in Puyallup