National Park Service
For Immediate Release –March 25, 2015
Contact's Name:ERIC CAMPBELL (540) 868-0937
National Park Service Invites Organizations and Individuals to Join
"Bells Across the Land: A Nation Remembers Appomattox"
Middletown, VA -----To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the National Park Service is inviting organizations and communities nation-wide to ring bells at 3:15pm EDT on April 9, 2015. Bells will be ringing throughout the Shenandoah Valley including a special program at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
For the past four years, the National Park Service and many organizations and individuals have been commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and the ongoing efforts for civil rights today. To commemorate the end of the Civil War, communities are encouraged to take a moment to mark the anniversary of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House.On April 9, 1865, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to set the terms of surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. While Lee's surrender did not end the Civil War, the act is seen by most Americans as the symbolic end of four years of bloodshed.
As part of the anniversary events at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the National Park Service will ring bells first at Appomattox at 3:00 p.m. on April 9th. The ringing will coincide with the moment the historic meeting between Grant and Lee in the McLean House ended.
After the ringing at Appomattox, bells will reverberate across the country. Bells will ring from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, from the Old North Church in Boston, from the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, from Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and from battlefields, national park sites, national cemeteries, state capitols, county court houses, town halls, historical sites, universities, schools, homes, churches, temples, and mosques around the nation. Individuals will also be joining in by ringing hand bells and cellphone bells.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and its partners will be holding a ceremony on the front lawn of Belle Grove Plantation Manor House (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA) starting at 2:30 p.m. A program on the impact of the Civil War on the Shenandoah Valley will be followed by a brief ceremony before the bell ringing at 3:15 EDT.This event is free and open to the public. Visitors interested in participating are encouraged to bring their own bells.
Other Shenandoah Valley communities and organizations have committed to participate in the Bells Across the Land program as well. At the time of this press release, several local locations have announced their participation including St. Thomas's Church in Middletown, the Wayside Inn in Middletown, the Strasburg Town Hall, the Warren County Courthouse in Front Royal, the Old Court House Civil War Museum in Winchester, the Shenandoah County Historic Courthouse in Woodstock and the Lee-Jackson Building in New Market. Participating Virginia communities are also highlighted on the Virginia Sesquicentennial website,
"All of our communities have worked so hard these last five years to honor and commemorate the battles and sacrifices from the Civil War," noted Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP Site Manager Amy Bracewell. "By ringing bells together at the same moment, we are joined together in remembering the 750,000 causalities and the important work done to rebuild the country after the war."
Please join the nation in ringing bells precisely at 3:15 pm EDT for four minutes (each minute symbolic of a year of war). Other organizations and individuals are encouraged to participate.The end of the Civil War has different meanings to different people. Each organization may customize this idea to its own situation.We ask participants to ring bells across the nation as a gesture to mark the end of the bloody conflict in which more than 750,000 Americans perished. Some communities may ring their bells in celebration of freedom or a restored Union, others as an expression of mourning and a moment of silence for the fallen. Sites may ring bells to mark the beginning of reconciliation and reconstruction or as the next step in the continuing struggle for civil rights.For more information and links see: www.nps.gov/civilwar/civil-war-to-civil-rights.htm.
Please join us in the historic commemoration and post your activities with #BellsAcrosstheLand2015. Let bells ring across the land!