The guns fell silent along the western front on the 11th hour of the 1th day of the 11th month of 1918. That was the armistice ending The Great War, or World War One.
Bells rang out on Nov. 11, 1918, proclaiming peace, as well as relief that the war was concluded. Armistice Day is now known as Veterans Day in the United States, but several churches in Muscatine will ring their bells at 11 a.m. Sunday for the 100-year observance of the armistice.
Pam Saturnia, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, said their bell will ring at 11 a.m. as part of their 10:15 AM service, which is dedicated to peace and goodwill.
"We've made poppies for all our veterans to wear," she said. "We're going to recognize them and offer a prayer for them."
Kathleen Hollingsworth, Administrative Assistant at Trinity Episcopal Church, said their bell will sound the 100-year observance as part of their Sunday morning worship.
"We're very excited about this and looking forward to being a part of it," she said. "Our worship service usually wraps up about that time."
Perhaps the Sunday observance will be most poignant at Zion Lutheran Church, which was founded in 1885 and was one of six Muscatine congregations conducting services in German when the war broke out in 1914. Anti-German sentiment became strong after the United States entered the war in 1917. In 1918 it came to a head in Muscatine when the American flag in front of Zion was found on the ground. Zion's pastor, John Haeffner, denied having anything to do with it, but he was paraded around town in a noose. He was tried and found not guilty on charges of desecrating the flag.
The bell in Zion's tall steeple rings at the beginning of 9 a.m. worship every Sunday morning, and it will ring at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day.
"We've been around even before World War I," current Zion Pastor Steve Cauley said in anticipation of Sunday's observance. "I am looking forward to it, given our history and the number of people from Zion who have served in the various military branches."
Unfortunately, structural problems with the bell tower at Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic Church may prevent all four bells from ringing, but one bell normally sounds on the hour.