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November 11, 2018 - The Bells of Peace Toll Again

Throughout California Communities Commemorate Anew the End of the War

 

320 pixel Cal TF logo PNGAn event indorsed and approved by the California WW1 Centennial Task Force to commemorate, honor, and educate the citizens of the Great State of California.

By Bill Betten, Co-Director of the California WW1 Centennial Task Force

 

 

BOP LogoAt precisely 11 o’ clock, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the guns fell silent, and the Great War came to an end. On the battlefields of France it was said that the “silence was deafening.”

For four long years the massive guns of WW1 on both sides had poured forth their death, but suddenly they bellowed no more. November 11, 1918, became the day the world would remember as the day of peace, the day the war-to-end-all-wars finally came to an end. “Think of it,” people would say, "war never again.” They would think to themselves, “Could it be true?”

But, WW1 became The-War-We-Forgot and soon enough (not twenty years later) tyrants were at it again dictating the orders for death.

100 years later the United States WW1 Centennial Commission formulated a plan to remind Americans of the service and sacrifice made by that generation a century ago. The Bells of Peace initiative was designed to involve communities across the nation to do just that. Towns and cities from Maine to Hawaii were asked to peal the bells exactly at 11:00 A.M. just as they did 100 years ago.

The word was spread and throughout the nation, California included, the bells did ring twenty-one times symbolizing the nation's highest honor: the 21-gun salute. On that Sunday, November 11, 2018, communities sounded together the reminder. Even cell phones had been set to go off where a real bell could not be found. An app had been made available so that even a singular individual could remember standing alone in the wilderness.

Thus it was, that up and down the State of California, from the smallest town to the largest metropolis the bells did toll at ceremonies open to the public.

sjsu normal school bell in quadSan Jose State University's Normal School BellFor example, as the Sunday morning services came to a close in Woodland, California, Yolo County, at the United Methodist Church, right at 11:00 A.M., the church’s handbell group, The Glory Shakers, rang twenty-one bells in honor of those soldiers and sailors from Yolo who paid the ultimate price in WW1. A half-mile away at the historic Yolo County Courthouse, the American Legion Post 77 sponsored the Sunday Veterans Day services where retired Brigadier Gen. James Combs addressed those assembled to commemorate the end of WW1.

Further to the Southwest in Santa Clara County at the San Jose State University Spartan Rose Garden, another commemoration had started at 10:30. Bells of Peace: A World War I Remembrance also rang the bells at 11:00 tolling the university's 1881 Normal School Bell 21 times.

Toward the middle of the state, the Kern County Museum also participated in the Bells of Peace by tolling the bell in the Beale Memorial Clock Tower twenty-one times. The commemoration began at 10:45 a.m. in Jim Burke Plaza at the Kern County Museum.

bells of peace kern countyThe Armistice Centennial Event was a partnership between the museum, BHS Driller Service Academy, Kern County Historical Society, Kern Veterans Memorial, and the CSUB Public History Institute to remember those who served from Kern County in World War I.

Many joined in remembering those who served during World War I and to honor the fallen from Kern County at the special event.

Lori Wear, Curator of Collections at the Kern County Museum said, “We owe our freedom to the men and women from Kern County who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in service to our country during World War I. It is our responsibility and honor to remember their sacrifice.”

Truxtun Beale, a U.S. foreign diplomat, who had donated the famous Clock Tower to the City of Bakersfield, lost his son Walker Blaine Beale in World War I. Lieutenant Beale, U.S. Army, was killed in action in France September 18, 1918, just two months prior to the war’s end.

Bells were known to have tolled twenty-one times in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties as well.

During the war, 116,516 Americans died and over 200,000 were wounded, many still remain missing. The question, will their sacrifice be forgotten? Will we as a people not recall, not remember? As a Co-Director of the California WW1 Centennial Task Force I am stunned to hear people, young and old ask, “Were we in WW1?” But, I do not blame teachers, for I know it was taught. I do not blame the texts, for I know the facts are there. The fault lies with each one of us who fail to recall the importance of it.

It is critical that we not forget the words Winston Churchill cited when he reiterated, 'Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California WW1 Centennial Task Force

 

Managing Board Co-Directors

Bill Betten
Sal Compagno
Col. Andre N. Coulombe
Hugh E. Crooks, Jr.
Mike Hanlon
Brigadier General R.G. Head, Ph.D. USAF (Ret.)
Prof. Jennifer Keene, Ph.D
Courtland Jindra
Dennis Matarrese
Major General Michael J. Myatt USMC (Ret.)
Stephen M. Payne, Ph.D.
Anthony Powell
Lester Probst
Prof. Jonathan Roth, Ph.D.
Col. Fred Rutledge 

Northern California Committee

Sal Compagno
Mike Hanlon
Stephen M. Payne, Ph.D.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Nielsen
Major General Michael J. Myatt USMC (Ret.)

Anthony Powell
Col. Fred Rutledge
Prof. Jonathan Roth, Ph.D.

Southern California Committee

Bill Betten
Maria Carrillo
Col. Andre N. Coulombe
Brigadier General R.G. Head, Ph.D. USAF (Ret.) 
Courtland Jindra
Lester Probst
Jeff Sharp

 Education Committee

Bill Betten, Master of Arts in Education, (Retired teacher DUSD, OUSD, AGUSD)
Lauren Weiss Bricker, Ph.D., Professor of Architecture at Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Scott Corbett, Ph.D, Lecturer, History, CSUCI
Jennifer Keene, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of History, Chapman University
Michael Powelson, Ph.D., Lecturer, History, CSUCI
Jonathan Roth, Ph.D., Professor of History, SJSU, Burdick Military History Project Director [Committee Chair]
Miriam Raub Vivian, Ph.D.,  Professor of History, CSUB

Website Administrator

Bill Betten

 

Email: courtland.jindra@worldwar1centennial.org

Snail Mail:
     California World War 1Centennial Task Force
     330 Myrtlewood Dr.
     Calimesa, CA 92320

 

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