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Stories from Bells of Peace participants: Atlantic County Veterans Museum, NJ

“It's a wonderful way to bring people together from all over the country to honor the veterans."

By Wanxing Niu
Staff Writer

Getting closer to November 11th, more and more organizations and individuals have signed up to join the Bells of Peace. Among 179 organizations, Atlantic County Veterans Museum was one of the them who are willing to toll bells with us in remembrance of sons and daughters who served and sacrificed during World War I.

Atlantic County Veterans MuseumThe historic Daniel Estell House is the home of the Atlantic County Veterans Museum. (Photo: Hannah Fox, at Estell Manor, New Jersey, the museum has opened since June 2017 featuring the history of the United States military and many military events from the American Revolution to the present, according to museum’s social media account.

BOP Logo 200“I received an email from the New Jersey Historical Commission,” Kimberly Brown, an administrator at Atlantic County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the museum, said in an email.

“It's a wonderful way to bring people together from all over the country to honor the veterans who served and sacrificed their lives for freedom,” she said.

Atlantic County has a long tradition in memorizing soldiers who served in wars. Back in 2002, the County published a book entitled Call to Duty: Recollections of Atlantic County Veterans, including more than 300 personal accounts and photographs of Atlantic County veterans. Other World War I related displays also featured within the museum.

Charles Wesley Price, who was born and raised in Pleasantville, NJ, was the first Atlantic County resident to die in World War I. He enlisted at the age of 15 and served with the 8th Co., 5th Regiment of the US Marines, the "Fighting Fifth," two years in Mexico and Nicaragua and then was sent to France in 1917, according to the book.

Price was killed in the trenches during the Aisne defense in a machine gun engagement at Belleau Woods on June 4, 1918.

"Apparently the only way they could recognize the boy was he had flaming red hair," former American Legion Post #2389 Commander Walter Fry said, according to the book.

Frederick "Fritz" Boling was an African-American served in the World War I. Born and grew up in a German-speaking community, Boling was fluent in the language and was often called upon to help translate and communicate with German prisoners of war while serving in France. By the insignia on his sleeve, he appears to have served with the 1st Army, according to one of the World War I displays in the museum.

The museum will extend its normal hours of operation to be open on Sunday, November 11th to celebrate the 100th anniversary of World War I with incoming visitors. All visitors were encouraged to download Bells of Peace participation App, an App developed by WWICC to facilitate everyone who wants to participate in the event, to “toll” the bell together with the museum at 11: 11 a.m., Brown said.

The museum will also display 660 American flags on the property’s front lawn, providing by “Flags for Forgotten Soldiers,” from mid-October through November 11th to raise public awareness of the alarming number of suicides among veterans, according to a social media post from the museum.

Wanxing Niu is a Fall 2018 Intern with the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.