For me, the phrase ‘the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month’ has always held great power and significance. It represents not only history – the end of the Great War, the First World War, the ‘war to end all wars’ – but also the moment in modern life when we are meant to stop, reflect and remember.
However, I have noticed that in my lifetime (and I’m not that old) many people have ‘stopped stopping’ for those two minutes, they don’t always take the time for this small observance; instead they plough through, ignoring it, or simply forgetting to pause. Not only are they themselves missing an opportunity to stop and reflect, but they are often actively intruding on those who do want to mark that time with silence.
In our constant modern rush we very rarely stop, let alone in silence and stillness. I truly believe that we owe it not only to history but to the future, to pause and reflect for those two minutes – perhaps more now than ever.
The power of the two-minute silence is that it is based in humanity. It is time to reflect on what we owe all the men and women, past and present, who have helped shape our countries both in times of war and times of peace. They lived through events we can never imagine and hope never to experience; recognizing this and showing our gratitude is the least we can do.
Here are five ways to ensure you not only stop for those few minutes but also help encourage others to do the same. These apply whether the 11th falls on a weekday or weekend.