From left, Alex Butler, Earl Smith and Bob Nickell ring the bell in front of the Highland House Museum Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
From left, Alex Butler, Earl Smith and Bob Nickell ring the bell in front of the Highland House Museum Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. (HCP Photos/Caitlin Forsha)
The bell in front of the Highland House Museum rang on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., in recognition of the armistice for World War I.

A small crowd gathered in front of the museum for the “Bells of Peace” ceremony. Current Army Reservist Lt. Alex Butler and local veterans Earl Smith and Bob Nickell worked together to ring the historic (and heavy) bell 21 times.

According to the Doughboy Foundation (https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/), “‘Bells of Peace’ is a U.S. national bell tolling remembrance that was created in collaboration with the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the World War I Armistice, November 11, 2018.

“The Doughboy Foundation has since promoted it as an annual remembrance of those who served in WWI and of the moment when the guns fell silent, and bells tolled on the Western Front … on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour in 1918, after four years of brutal combat.”

Highland House Museum Director Vicki Knauff said this is the third year the Highland County Historical society has participated in the “Bells of Peace” event.

After the ringing of the bell, Knauff asked the three local military representatives to introduce themselves. Nickell is a veteran of the United States Air Force, while Smith served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army. Butler said he is “currently a part of the 372nd Military Intelligence Battalion, stationed out of Cincinnati.”

“Thank you for your service,” Knauff told them. “We really do appreciate it.”

Knauff read some statistics regarding World War I, including that “4.7 million Americans fought on the Western Front for 18 months,” with 200,000 injured and 116,516 Americans losing their lives.

The first Highland County soldier killed in the war was Raymond Stout. Knauff pointed out that a banner commemorating Stout’s service flies next to the museum.

“He was killed in September 1918 in the Battles of the Meuse Argonne,” Knauff said. “That would have been just five or six weeks before the Armistice.”

After Knauff the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, Butler concluded the event with a prayer.