Bells at the Sylvan Lake Memorial Presbyterian Church and St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church will be rung 100 times to mark the end of the First World War. Photo Courtesy of pixabay

End of WWI marked in Eckville with the ringing of bells

St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church will ring its bell 100 to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI

On Nov. 11, 1918 the armistice that officially ended the Great War was signed and church bells from all across the United Kingdom started to ring.

The BBC News reported the ringing of bells showed an “outpouring of relief that four years of war had come to an end.”

One hundred years later the bells will once again ring, this time across Canada.

As the sun sets on Nov. 11, churches and cathedrals across Canada will join together to ring their bell 100, one toll of the bell to mark each year since the end of WWI.

In Eckville the ringing, which is known as the Bells of Peace, will be held at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

“The sun sets at 4:54 p.m. [on Nov. 11] … we will be gathering around 4:30 p.m. to make sure everyone has a chance to get there and mill around,” said Anna Olive, a member of the Presbyterian Church in Sylvan Lake.

There are specific guidelines for the ringing of the bells, according to Olive they are supposed to ring once every five seconds.

The Presbyterian Church has recruited Sylvan Lake Legion member Barry Virtue to act as counter, to ensure the tolls sound once every five seconds.

“As we listen to the bells it will helps us to sit back and think about why we are doing this and why it is important,” said Olive. “We will be able to reflect on why and how we live our lives in such a way.”

This is a one time only event, according to Olive. As such it will mark not only the passing of time since the end of the first world war, but also the lives of soldiers past and present who fight for the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens.

“It wouldn’t be important if it wasn’t for the veterans.”

Olive said the event will also be important for those of the younger generations.

Many people do not understand the significance of Remembrance Day or what it stands for, Olive says.

“A lot of kids today don’t have family members fighting or know a member who was a soldier. There hasn’t been a war, and so they don’t really understand.

“I hope this will help everyone understand how important Remembrance Day actually is,” Olive said.

Kevin Haugen from the Alliance Church will be officiating the ceremony, as he is the officiant for the Sylvan Lake Legion.

The public is encouraged to attend the event, gathering at the church around 4:30 p.m. before the ringing begins at 4:54 p.m. Sundown was chosen to commemorate the moment instead of sunrise to allow everyone the chance to attend the ceremonies in the morning.

“It is a really honour to be a part of this. To know all across Canada we are commenting 100 years is an amazing thing,” said Olive.

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