Hogan Administration Hosts WWI Centennial Remembrance and Veterans Day Ceremony
ANNAPOLIS, MD — In honor of Veterans Day, the Governor’s World War I Centennial Commission today hosted a ceremony at the Maryland State House in remembrance of those who served in World War I. During the ceremony, bells were tolled 21 times with a five-second interval between each toll to represent the 21-gun salute, the nation’s highest honor. Earlier this year, Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation calling on Marylanders to toll bells on November 11, 2018 at 11:00 AM in remembrance of the day, which marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which ended World War I.
“I ask all Marylanders to join me in remembering the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to protect the freedoms we enjoy today,” said Governor Hogan. “These heroic Americans, including over 62,000 Marylanders, responded to a call to action to fight for the ideals on which our nation was founded. It is our duty to ensure that this important history is preserved for future generations and I commend the World War I Centennial Commission for their continued efforts.”
In 2015, Governor Hogan established the Maryland’s World War I Centennial Commission, tasking the commission with creating ways for Maryland citizens and visitors to remember, commemorate, and learn about the meaning of World War I and the role of Marylanders during that time. The ceremony included special recognition of Maryland’s American Legions; acknowledgement of the Maryland soldier recognized as the last soldier to die in WWI; a performance by a United States Naval Academy band quintet; and remarks from Maryland Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Mark Belton, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who retired as a rear admiral.
“We thank Governor Hogan for being one of the first governors in the country to issue a bell tolling proclamation to honor veterans of World War I,” said David Craig, Director of the World War I Centennial Commission. “The countless Americans who contributed to our victory in the Great War, including the nearly 2,000 Marylanders who gave the ultimate sacrifice, deserve the nation’s highest recognition and we are proud to join in honoring them.”
Over 62,000 Marylanders served during World War I, including 11,000 African Americans and 6,000 women. Maryland is known for its significant contributions of medical officers to the American Expeditionary Forces and servicemen in the naval forces. Additionally, several sites in the state were utilized as important landmarks during the war including Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and Baltimore City.
“On behalf of the Maryland World War I Centennial Commission, I would like to thank Governor Hogan for his continued support of our efforts to recognize the heroes of the Great War,” said Joseph Suarez, Chair of the Maryland World War I Centennial Commission. “Since the establishment of our Commission, we have been committed to telling the story of Marylanders who served and sacrificed both on the battlefield and on the home front. The solemnity of the bell tolling that is taking place across the nation and in every town and community in Maryland is a reminder of that human sacrifice that helped to change the world.”
Governor Hogan’s proclamation and announcement coincides with a call by the United States World War I Centennial Commission for all Americans to participate in a national tolling of the bells. Tolling the bells holds historic significance as it signaled the end of World War I and was often used to signify or commemorate that someone had died.