Joplin, MO (SNS) – In observance of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Missouri Southern State University will join with other universities, historic sites, churches and others for “Bells Across the Land.”

Beginning at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, April 9, the bells at Missouri Southern will chime for four minutes – one minute for each year of the war.

Spearheaded by the National Park Service, bells will ring first at Appomattox at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The ringing will coincide with the historic meeting between Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to set the terms for the surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Fifteen minutes later, bells across the United States will ring to commemorate the war’s end.

The Civil War began in 1861. The American political system had collapsed when voters and politicians could not agree on whether or not the Constitution protected the right of citizens to enslave human beings. For four years, Northerners and Southerners fought brutally and more than 700,000 men were killed in battle.

“Bells Across the Land” is meant as a time of reflection on the enormous human cost of this conflict, but also as a time to remember the incredible moment that secured freedom for the more than 4 million people in enslavement.