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For the past four years, the National Park Service and many other organizations and individuals have been commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and the continuing efforts for human rights today. On April 9, 1865, Union General Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate General Robert E. Lee to set the terms of surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, Virginia.
On April 9, 2015, in conjunction with a major bell ringing event at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, the National Park Service and its partners invite individuals and communities across the nation to join in this commemoration. The bells will ring first at Appomattox at 2:00 p.m. (CDT) on April 9, 2015. The ringing will coincide with the moment the historic meeting between Grant and Lee at Appomattox Court House ended. 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.
After the ringing at Appomattox, bells will reverberate across the country. Churches, temples, schools, city halls, public buildings, historic sites, and others are invited to ring bells precisely at 2:15 p.m. (CDT) for four minutes (each minute symbolic of a year of war). If you have access to any such organizations, please encourage them to participate.
Homestead National Monument of America will join in the commemoration by ringing the school bell at Freeman School at 2:15 p.m. (CDT). You are invited to join us, or simply step outside and listen to your community join in the ringing.
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. Curriculum materials are available for schools interested in participating.
Share your story and help us write history!
Schools, parks, and communities from all over the country will be participating in this event. Share how you observed it will #BellsAcrosstheLand2015. Stories will be compiled in one place to see how each one helps build our national story.
Please join us in the historic commemoration. Let bells ring across the land! For more information contact Carol_Shively@nps.gov or John_Hennessy@nps.gov. For educational materials for schools contact Amy_Bracewell@nps.gov.
Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM), Facebook (HometeadNM), and Instagram (HomesteadNPS).
Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska and 45 miles south of Lincoln. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit https://www.nps.gov/home/.
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The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.