During the First World War, to avoid bringing attention to towns, church bells in Europe remained silent. When the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, churches rang their bells again, in celebration.
Now, on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the fighting, Canadian bell towers will ring their bells 100 times on Sunday. The ringing will start at sundown which is just before 5pm here in Simcoe County.*
Stop and listen.
The First World War started August 4th, 1914. It was called the Great War and the War to End All Wars.
It was a bloody war with great losses. More than 650,000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served during the First World War, which was about 7% of the population of Canada at the time. More than 10% of those were killed and more than 25% were wounded. (More than 66,000 gave their lives and over 172,000 were wounded.)
To put that in perspective, that would be the equivalent of more than 2.5 million Canadians today going to war over the next 4 years and 250 000 of them dying.
Related: Who We Remember and How We Remember
The Bells of Peace initiative was developed by The Royal Canadian Legion, in partnership with the Government of Canada.
The Canadian Legion says: When you hear the bells toll on November 11, take a moment to pause and remember all those who served and sacrificed.
We will remember them.
*Some local churches will be ringing their bells earlier in the day. Please double check if you want to be near a bell as it rings.
St. James United Church in Stroud -Starting at 7 p.m., with ringing of the bells in five-second intervals, as people gather outside by candlelight. Candles will be provided to all participants. Potluck supper at 5:30 p.m., with Remembrance Day readings at 6:45 p.m.