The largest bell Hillsboro’s C.S. Bell Company ever made will toll Sunday as part of the nationwide Bells of Peace program marking 100 years since the end of World War I.
The massive bell is located in front of the Highland County Historical Society’s Highland House Museum at 151 E. Main St., Hillsboro, where the local program will begin at 11 a.m.
“I have been involved in the veterans banner project uptown, and I think it’s just natural that a history organization such as us would honor the veterans and remind people of the sacrifices made in the war, because it was horrible,” said Vicki Knauff, director of the museum.
A short program in the Highland House after the bell ringing will include a history of Veterans Day, and a local student reading the names of the 32 Highland County residents that died during the war. There will also be 32 U.S. flags placed in front of the Highland House in memory of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, exactly 100 after the end of fighting on the Western Front in World War I, bells across the United States will ring together as part of Bells of Peace. All places of worship and organizations are encouraged to participate in Bells of Peace. Bells are to be tolled 21 times, with the bell tolling providing a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and service of veterans of World War I, and all veterans, the historical society said in news release.
World War I took place between July 1914 and November 1918, and was one of the deadliest conflicts in world history. More than nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war. The United States officially entered the war on April 6, 1917. Some 4.7 million Americans stepped forward to serve in uniform during the war, two million of them were deployed overseas to fight, and 116,516 of them never made it home alive. Of the 32 Highland County soldiers that died during the war, eight were killed in battle, and others due to influenza or pneumonia, the news release said.
“The historical society is fortunate to have an impressive collection of World War I memorabilia as well as artifacts of Pvt. Raymond Stout, the first Highland County soldier killed in World War I,” Knauff said.
The bell in front of the Highland House was the largest ever cast by C.S. Bell, according to local historical Jean Wallis. She said it was created around the turn of the century and formerly sat in front of the C.S. Bell factory.
All veterans and the public are invited to attend to the Nov. 11 program.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.