Join the National Park Service in Ringing “Bells across the Land: A Nation Remembers Appomattox”

The Centennial Bell - Independence Hall Tower
Centennial Bell in Independence Hall Tower


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News Release Date: March 20, 2015

Contact: Jane Cowley, 215-597-0060

Philadelphia For the past four years, the National Park Service, state governments, private 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 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.

In conjunction with a major event at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Independence National Historical Park invites the Philadelphia community to join in this commemoration with a symbolic event at the Liberty Bell on April 9, 2015 from 2:45 – 3:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public, though space is limited.

On April 9, 2015, the bells will ring first at Appomattox at 3:00 p.m. The ringing will reflect the ending moments of the historic meeting between Grant and Lee in the McLean House at Appomattox Court House. After the ringing at Appomattox, bells will reverberate across the country. Churches, temples, schools, city halls, public buildings, historic sites, and others will ring bells precisely at 3:15 pm for four minutes (each minute symbolic of a year of war).

Independence National Historical Park will be part of this commemoration with a program starting at 2:45 pm on Thursday, April 9. At 3:15 pm, the Centennial Bell, which currently hangs in Independence Hall tower, will ring for 4 minutes. The Centennial Bell was cast in 1876 from a mixture of Atlantic mine ore, copper and tin with the addition of one hundred pounds from each of four cannon: British and American from the Revolutionary battle of Saratoga and Union and Confederate from the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. While that historic bell chimes, the Liberty Bell will ring in its own way, as guests from our city and region come together to symbolically tap the Liberty Bell.

The end of the Civil War has different meanings to different people. The National Park Service invites churches, temples, schools, city halls, public buildings, historic sites, and others 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.

Schools, parks, and communities from all over the country will be participating in this event. Share how you observed it with #BellsAcrosstheLand2015. Stories will be compiled in one place to see how each one helps build our national story. 

Last updated: March 20, 2015

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