Bell to toll at Independence Hall as part of centennial observance of Armistice Day

Paul Kurtz
November 10, 2018 - 12:02 pm
 Sarah Falch and Nicole Felmeth

Paul Kurtz | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The tolling of bells will be the centerpiece of Sunday's Veterans Day observance, which marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. 

The national tolling of the bells, known as Bells of Peace, is meant to honor those who served in the "Great War."

In Philadelphia, the World War I Centennial Commission and the National Park Service have designated the Liberty Bell and its world-famous crack as the Honorary Bell of Peace, but the one you will hear is just across the street, in the tower at Independence Hall.

Two Independence National Historic Park rangers have been given the honor of ringing the bell, Sarah Falch and Nicole Felmeth. They're not only rangers, they're students of history, who can tell you all about Armistice Day in Philly in 1918. And they believe it is fitting that women should ring the bell.

"A hundred years ago, on Armistice itself, it was a female who rang the centennial bell, Sylvia Broom, in honor of her brother who fought in France," Falch said.

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The bell-ringing will break out on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. But Sarah and Nicole will strike their's 21 more times at 11:11, 21-gun salute-style. They've been visualizing that moment for a long time. 

"I honestly will probably be thinking of how many people were on the square that day and the thousands of people in the city, and how excited they were that the war was over," Felmeth said, "and probably be thinking about Sylvia, truthfully, how excited she must of have been to go up in the tower and ring the bell in honor of her brother."

The 13,000 pound Independence Hall bell still rings every hour on the hour. The city also rings it for special occasions.