It’s a once in lifetime opportunity, said Dianne Hodges, president of RCL Branch 153 in Tillsonburg and Zone B Deputy Commander, looking forward to The Bells of Peace in honour of the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice.
“It’s 100 years,” said Hodges.
“On November 11 they are starting with a piper on the east coast, and finishing with a piper on the west coast. And they are asking for all the communities in Canada to ring the bells 100 times at dusk – at the setting of the sun on November 11.”
Bells of Peace will commemorate the 100 years since the treaty that ended the First World War.
“We do have some participation in town,” Hodges noted. “So we want people to know that if they hear bells ringing in town around dusk on November 11th, that this is what it’s all about.”
St. John’s Anglican Church will be among the participants, she said, with their Sunday School children ringing the bell, as well as Avondale United Church.
“I was quite pleased to hear that. There will be some churches in town that will be ringing their bells. They’re going to start at dusk, and they’re going to go for… I don’t know how long. One hundred times. It will start shortly after 5, I was told dusk will be 5:03 on November 11th.
“We’re encouraging people to maybe go to the churches, or be outside and listen to the bells, and then reflect upon what transpired.”
At the Legion Banquet in Tillsonburg, which includes a presentation by a Silver Cross Mother, a special ceremony will be held to commemorate Bells of Peace.
“It will happen as part of our program,” said Hodges, noting they are keeping details under wraps until the banquet. “We decided to have something of our own that would be kind of unique, and that our veterans would be able to participated in it. I think it’s very special for them to be able to do that.
“We also have a mini band coming from Ingersoll Pipe Band to play a few tunes. Towns have been asked to play Green Hills, the Battle’s O’er, at 11 o’clock on November 11th, however, because that’s not possible, we’re going to have that included as part of our program to finish it off.”
Their main goal leading up to Sunday’s Bells of Peace ceremony, said Hodges, is educating people.
“Unless they’ve seen it advertised on TV, or heard about it through Legions, then they really won’t know what’s happening. People will be saying, ‘what’s going on?'” she smiled. “We don’t want people thinking there’s a problem in town, so we’re just trying to educate the community. That’s the big thing.”
Hodges noted the Tillsonburg Legion includes a veteran, Allan Chipps, who will be celebrating his 101st birthday in February.
“And we have a 99-year-old, Robert Cross, and 96-year-olds,” she added, including Kay Tully, who hasn’t missed a cenotaph service in 50 years. “And three or four between 90-95. We’re fortunate to still have some of our Second World War veterans.”