Ringing the church bells on Veteran’s Day

Post Star Newspaper 11/5/13
• BILL TOSCANO – btoscano@poststar.com

HARTFORD — For the fourth year, Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff is reaching out to all churches in Washington County to ask them to ring their bells at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day.

“I remember one Veterans Day when I was a teenager that my dad told me about the Armistice Day bell-ringing tribute. My dad, who was born in 1920, grew up in Fort Edward and could remember as a child how the churches would ring their bells at 11 a.m. every Nov. 11th,” Haff said. “I think it is very important to acknowledge the role that veteran servicemen and women had in protecting our country and this old fashion bell-ringing tribute to our veterans is just one small way that we can do that.”

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, and in 1920, Gov. Al Smith requested that mayors, village presidents and pastors ring their bells at the appointed time, Haff said.

Based on past experience, Haff expects between 35 and 40 churches to ring their bells Monday, along with St. Francis Cabrini in West Pawlet, Vt., which has a number of Washington County residents among its parishioners.

One church is going further.

Pastor Art Peters at Trinity Church in Granville told Haff his church will ring its bell at Sunday service as someone reads the names of more than 150 veterans associated with members of the congregation. Haff said the church will probably be ringing its bell for more than 10 minutes.

In a letter to all county supervisors, Haff wrote, “I would like to try to have this revival spread to all of Washington County and I am asking for your assistance.”

Haff said the Rev. James Peterson of the Whitehall First Baptist Church and the Granville Baptist Church is helping him reach out to churches in the county.