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Church bells to ring 100 times on Nov. 11 to honour First World War sacrifices

POWELL RIVER, B.C. – Church bells in Powell River will ring, and ring, and ring some more on Remembrance Day to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice a century ago.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 poppy chairman Bill Demkiw said bells will ring 100 times at the Powell River United Church and Church of the Assumption on Nov. 11, to highlight the sacrifices of Canadians who served during the First World War.

“I understand there’s one in the town site that’s been talking about it, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet,” Demkiw said.

Remembrance Day Sunday marks 100 years since the signing of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.

Communities are being urged to ring church bells 100 times, five seconds between rings, starting at sunset on Nov. 11.

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“The idea behind it is to get people into remembering, and basically to make people aware of the amount of people that were involved in the First World War,” Demkiw said.

Demkiw wants to assure residents that when the bells start ringing, it’s not an emergency, but rather “to make people aware, and a means of remembering those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, basically.”

Close to 61,000 Canadians were killed in combat and another 172,000 were wounded during the war that spanned from 1914 to 1918.

“A lot of them came back broken in mind and body, basically,” Demkiw said. “A lot of them that came back suffered for a lot of years afterwards. Back then, they never called it PSTD, but they called it shellshock.”

Demkiw added that small flags will be placed on the graves of all First World War veterans at the Powell River Cemetery.

“They are going to mark (the graves) so if people would like to go up there and see how many (veterans) up there that came home and then passed since, who have served in the First World War,” Demkiw said.

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