WWI Centennial “Bells of Peace”

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
2018 marks 100 years since World War I’s end, drawing to a close with the deadliest battle American soldiers have ever fought – the Meuse-Argonne Offensive – during which 26,277 Americans perished. As Veterans Day approaches, the “Bells of Peace” campaign in the United States calls for the country to ring bells at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11––recognizing the time and date the Armistice was signed in 1918.
The campaign is part of the North Dakota WWI Centennial Committee, a non-profit group, an independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and funded in part by Humanities North Dakota. To ensure all those wishing to participate in “Bells of Peace” have the ability to do so, the committee has developed an app. This app, called “Bells of Peace: WWI Armistice,” is programmed to use a variety of bell sounds and automatically toll 21 times at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, joining thousands of other bells commemorating the exact moment a century ago when the war ended.
With the app joining churches, courthouses, universities and schools, millions across America will participate in the ceremonial remembrance on the morning of Nov. 11.
As the bells toll, communities remember all soldiers who died during the war.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a proclamation on Nov. 5, designating Nov. 11, 2018, as World War I Remembrance Day. The proclamation officially asks all County Veterans Service Officers to read aloud from the courthouse steps the names of all North Dakota military members who died fighting in WWI, nearly 1,400––a lot of who perished in the final six months in France. This reading immediately follows the 21 tolls of the bells.
As a part of the WWI Centennial project, Historian Barbara Handy-Marchello, of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, compiled a WWI Casualties List by North Dakota County.
In Barnes County, Handy-Marcello’s study found, 42 men had died in WWI. Three of them, residents of Valley City, were awarded a Silver Star. One received the Medal of Honor.
Listed below are those from Barnes County who made the ultimate sacrifice in “The Great War.”
Key: Killed in Action (KIA), Died of Disease (DOD), Died of Wounds (DOW), Died of Accident (DOA), * entitled to wear a Silver Star, ** entitled to wear two Silver Stars. A few men drowned at sea. Other awards, such as the Congressional Medal of Honor are also identified. Names are spelled correctly as far as can be determined from military records and the U.S. Census.
Barnes County
Leonard Edward Algeo, Valley City (DOD); George Oscar Altringer, Wimbledon (DOW); George Otto Barnick, Valley City (DOA); John Alfred Barstad, Nome (DOD); Ralph Armijo Bergan, Valley City (DOD); Frank Boehm, Oriska (DOD); George D. Bremner, Pillsbury (KIA); Manuel Alfred Dahl, Valley City (DOD); Earl D. Findlay, Valley City (DOA); Edgar A. Fisher, Oriska (KIA); James Edward Fisher, Valley City (KIA); Bert Melvin Fossen, Fingal (DOW); William John Gravell, Valley City (DOW); James O. Hanson, Kathryn (DOD); Ernest Harrison, Urbana (DOD); Jack Humphrey, Valley City (KIA*); Martin A. Jacobson, Litchville (KIA); Johannes Frederick Jagd, Valley City (DOD); Daniel J. Mahoney, Valley City (KIA*); Early Ezra McLain, Valley City (DOD); Clair Edward Mead, Valley City (DOW); August Minnie, Valley City (KIA*); Ernest Oliver Myhre, Valley City (DOD); Frank Nelson, Valley City (KIA); Charles Karl Nielson, Valley City DOD; Albert Nansen Olson, Dazey (KIA); Andrew Olson, Hastings (KIA); Carl Olson, Valley City (DOD); John Vernon Raaen, Fingal (KIA); Ross Ray Reid, Valley City (KIA); Benjamin J. Seifert, Valley City (DOA); Harold Sharp, Valley City (KIA); Fred Eliphaz Smith,Valley City (KIA) Medal of Honor ; Kenneth Mark Sollin, Valley City (DOD); Ole Staxrud, Valley City (KIA) ; Emil Oscar Stubstad, Dazey (KIA); Stephen Swanson, Valley City (DOD) ; Maurice Verschelde, Valley City (DOD); Ray Earl Vessey, Valley City (DOD); Thomas John Wallace, Valley City (DOD); Elmer Ben Winters, Wimbledon (DOD)[UND]^; Martin Wold, Valley City (KIA).