A Moment of Silence

Has anybody else noticed how noisy the world is these days? Cars and trains and voices. Video feeds and electronic games. Even at home, alone, with the sound off, we are bombarded with the voices of others–social media, blog posts, an endless ticker tape of news.

And what news it is. Troops sent to Iraq. Murder in Palestine. Flare ups on the borders of countries long suffering animosity.

Today is Veterans Day. A day to celebrate the men and women who have served for their countries. A day to thank them all for stepping forward and being willing to risk their lives.

It is also a day to remember the fallen. The hundreds of thousands of men and women who have died in service to their countries. Today marks the anniversary of the cessation of hostilities of World War I–the armistice signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month–still less than a hundred years ago.

In Britain, the holiday is called Remembrance Day and on Sunday, my husband–an English veteran of the first Gulf War, as well as the conflict in Northern Ireland–attended the Remembrance Sunday parade and services in his home town. He didn’t wear his medals and no one thanked him for his service. He was there in remembrance of his grandmother’s four brothers who died during World War I.

Let us honor the men and women who live. Buy them coffee. Give up your first class seat on a plane. Shake a hand and be grateful.

But also, let’s take a moment of silence in this noisy, noisy world to remember. History matters because it is not so far out of reach–one generation, two–and because the men and women who serve in 2014 deserve not just to be remembered today, but by the contemporaries of their children and grandchildren.  Today, we are creating history, so let’s make our actions worth remembering.

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About Katherine Longshore

Katherine Longshore is the author of GILT (Viking/Penguin May 2012), a story of friendship and betrayal set in the court of Henry VIII, and TARNISH (June 2013), the story of a young Anne Boleyn. You can learn more about her www.katherinelongshore.com

4 thoughts on “A Moment of Silence

  1. You brought tears to my eyes, Katy. Many thanks to your husband for his service.

    I tried to have a family moment of silence this morning at 11:11 and my daughter protested that “one whole minute” was sooooo long. *sigh* What a world!

  2. Adrienne says:

    I grew up in Canada, where we also celebrate Remembrance Day and always had an assembly that included a moment of silence at 11:11.I learned the words to the poem “In Flanders’ Fields” because I heard it repeated every year. The kids I teach in Oregon get the day off, but they don’t really know why. I think it would be a more meaningful holiday of the kids were in school. I know this would be unpopular with some groups, but I honestly think this to be true. I second Maryanne’s thanks to your husband.

    • You make an excellent point, Adrienne–today’s young people could be better informed of why they get the day off (and not a long weekend, either!) Even having a discussion and/or moment of silence on a different day might serve a purpose. (BTW, we memorized Dulce et Decorum Est in high school.)

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