By Lonnie Huhman
The bells of peace rang out over Saline Sunday morning to mark Veterans Day by commemorating the Centennial year of the end of World War I.
Saline area Veterans, Girl Scouts, residents and officials gathered at the American Legion Post 322 to ring individual hand bells while the bells from churches across the area sounded out at that same time.
The ceremony at the 11th hour, on the 11th day and 11th month of this year marked the Armistice that saw the end to WWI, better known in American history as “The War to end all Wars.” The bells of peace event was held across the U.S on Nov. 11.
Prior to the ceremony Saline Mayor Brian Marl and Saline American Legion Post Commander Tim Driscoll spoke to the 50 or so attendees.
“We have to be very proud of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers who served in that war because we wouldn’t have the country and we wouldn’t have the world, and that’s what happens all of the time,” Driscoll said. “America keeps going out there, no matter what the war is, and saving them, somehow saving them, somehow saving them.”
In thinking about the current war on Terrorism, in places like Afghanistan, Driscoll said, “The war we’re going through right now has been going on for 12 years, for 12 years. It’s heartbreaking and I don’t even seen an end to it. We’re trying to do the right thing. We have just the most wonderful sons and daughters, and some day, dear lord please stop us all from going to war. We would like to just keep them at home and love them.”
Marl presented a proclamation declaring the day in remembrance of the 4.7 million Americans who stepped forward to serve the country in WWI.
However, he said he also wanted, “to take a moment to acknowledge all of the veterans who are in our presence this morning. We thank you for your service and we are indebted to each and every one of you.”
The event was organized as a community effort between the scouts, legion, churches and city of Saline.
Kathy Van Buren, a long-time Girl Scout leader in Saline, and her group of scouts handed out the bells to the attendees. Van Buren said it was their privilege and pleasure to be part of this historical moment in Saline.
The ceremony has even more meaning to the legion as its post is named after a Saline man, William B. Lutz, who was killed in action during WWI. Lutz’s service and his family’s impact on Saline was recognized during the cemroeny.
Eric Engelmeier, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, said this was a historical day and he was glad to see all of the veterans in attendance. He paid a special recognition to the veterans from each war and recalled how they were welcomed home, rightly so, with open arms, which led him to pay a special tribute to Vietnam War veterans.
He said those veterans were shunned by a nation, so he apologized to them, and ended by saying, “and I want to welcome you all home.”
After the bells rang out, a single bugle played “Taps.”