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Contact: Melinda Day, 304-535-6063
At 3:15pm on April 9, 2015, we invite visitors to join Harpers Ferry National Historical Park rangers and St. Peter’s Catholic Church at Harpers Ferry to mark the symbolic end of the Civil War.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will commemorate the Appomattox surrender moment by participating in a nationwide "ringing of bells across the land."
Visit the historic John Brown Fort to take your turn ringing a bell at the very place where former slave and orator Frederick Douglass said the American Civil War began. “John Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic, Douglass said in 1880. "The South…drew the sword of rebellion and thus made her own, and not Brown’s, the lost cause of the century.”
On April 9, 1865 - 150 years ago - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, ending the bloodiest war in American History. With the Union victory came the preservation of the United States and the freedom of 4 million African-Americans.
Located on the border between North and South, Harpers Ferry changed hands eight times during the war, and the historic town was virtually destroyed. Five battles occurred at Harpers Ferry between 1861-1864, and the town's antebellum population dwindled from 3,000 to 100 residents.
This bell ringing commemoration not only will mark the end of the Civil War in which more than 750,000 Americans perished, but communities are invited to ring their own bells in celebration of freedom and a restored Union. Others may use the occasion 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.