“Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”
On World Storytelling Day, March 20, at 6 p.m., veterans, those who care about veterans, and peace and justice activists, will gather in Guild Hall at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. The event, sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 and the Plymouth Church Global Connections Committee, culminates several months of artistic activity, with veterans designing and casting their own bells in the spirit of the original 1918 Armistice. For over 25 years Veterans for Peace has celebrated November 11 with bells ringing 11 times at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when the Armistice ending World War I was signed. It was a time when the world came together for a number of years to say "This war was so horrendous we must never do it again". It was a time when the President of the United States could make a Memorial Day speech, saying, "We are gathered here to honor those who've given their lives in service, and there is no greater honor we could offer than to do everything possible to keep future wars from occurring."
The Armistice of 1918 ended the terrible slaughter of World War I. The U.S. alone had experienced the death of over 116,000 soldiers, plus many more who were physically and mentally disabled. For one moment, at the 11th hour of the 11thday of the 11th month, the world agreed World War I must be considered the WAR TO END ALL WARS. There was exuberant joy everywhere, and many churches rang their bells, some 11 times at 11 a.m. on November 11th, when the Armistice was signed.
It was at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 that World War I was halted as a result of the signing of the armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany. In the years to follow, people from around the world have stopped what they were doing at 11:00 AM local time on November 11th in silent rememberance of the point in time when what’s been known as the “War to end all wars” that took the lives of tens of millions of people came to an end. In other commemorations of that peaceful pledge begun on the 11th hour of November 11, 1918, bells have been rung from