Bells across the land: A nation remembers Appomattox

VA joins the nation in the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War


Today, 150 years after Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to set the terms of surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, we honor the service and sacrifice of all those who fought in the American Civil War. The exact number of Americans killed is not precisely known, but is estimated to be at least 750,000.

Fort Gibson Bell

Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Oklahoma

While Lee’s surrender at Appomattox did not end the Civil War, most Americans see what happened that day as the symbolic end of four years of bloodshed. One hundred and fifty years later, we can celebrate the reunification of our nation and the start of the continuing path of equality.

Today, as part of the sesquicentennial at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the National Park Service, VA cemeteries, VA chapels and others across America will commemorate this historic event by tolling bells.  The bells will ring first at Appomattox at 3:00 p.m. ET, coinciding with the moment the historic meeting between Grant and Lee in the McLean House ended. After the ringing at Appomattox, bells will reverberate across the country starting at 3:15 p.m.  Watch the Appomattox commemoration online via C-SPAN 3.

Through the ringing of bells in our chapels and cemeteries across the country, VA honors the service and sacrifice of all those who fought in defense of our country.


Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.