TOMS RIVER – On Armistice Day, the bell will ring from the Ocean County Courthouse front lawn 75 times to remember all those who paid the ultimate price serving in World War I.
It’s a fitting close to the county’s more than year-long remembrance of the 100th anniversary of World War I.
The remembrance coincides with Armistice Day at the courthouse, 118 Washington St., on Nov. 11. Music from the period will begin at 10 a.m. and the ceremony will start at 10:30 a.m.
At 11 a.m.–the 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour—the bells will toll for those who served and sacrificed during the War. The exterior of the courthouse is decorated with red, white and blue bunting typical of the time period, and an enlarged replica of the Victory Medal currently hangs between the columns.
The restored cannon, completed by American Legion Post 129, will be dedicated as the County’s new monument to the Great War afterward.
“Records have shown that over ten percent of Ocean County’s population at the time had served in World War I,” Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as the liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Bureau, said. “We have always taken great pride in our residents who have served our country and the World War I Centennial has continued to remind us the importance of our veterans.”
The county’s remembrance of the Great War’s centennial began April 6, 2017 with the honoring of the 2,433 county men who served. It took place in Courtroom 1, because those who served first mustered there.
Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr. Initiated the centennial celebrations. He was assisted by the Tuckerton Seaport Stitchers, the group which constructed 28 commemorative Service Flags. Each flag represents a municipality that existed back in 1918 that sent men off to war.
The flags contain 13 stars (the number of original colonies), a blue number showing how many men from that municipality went off to war, and a gold number representing the number who paid the ultimate price for service.
Freeholders Virginia Haines John Kelly, along with members of the Ocean County Parks Department and Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission have presented the flags to towns across the county.
“The Service Flags have added a unique perspective to the history of World War I in Ocean County,” Bartlett said. He serves as liaison to the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission. “The flags have allowed the public to be re-engaged with the World War I era, and has shown how their towns were impacted by the war.”