Sunday, 11 November 2012

Two Minutes


I stood still. I was getting a casserole ready, had a chopping board full of root vegetables and the Rayburn lit ready. I was checking the clock for the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I had the iron pot warming on the coal lit stove. The hands on the clock said it is time to be still. 

The First Two Minute Silence in London (11th November 1919) as reported in the Manchester Guardian, 12th November 1919.
'The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect.
The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition.
Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of 'attention'. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still ... The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain ... And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.'

6 comments:

  1. That must have been an awesome moment in time. I believe people had more of a spirit of cooperation back then. Today, it would be near impossible to do something like that.

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  2. The unity of sorrow- I think it would have been a stunning experience but don't envy the raw grief. It was rather lovely to feel a bit of co-operative spirit during the London Olympics this year and no war required :-)

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  3. What can we do to bring back that spirit of cooperation?

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  4. That news report captures the moment so vividly, I can picture the eerie hush of a nation remembering.

    When I moved to Canada, I was immediately impressed with how much more seriously folks take Remembrance Day over here. Something of that hush still descends on towns here, as crowds gather around cenotaphs each year to pay their respects.

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  5. A wonderfully touching post. I remember my Grandad every year on the 11th. He was a proud WWII vet.

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  6. Suze: As far as the spirit of co-operation goes, education has got to be a key component. It is something I think about. I see a wonderful change in many of my students and it's the group ethos we've nurtured that makes it happen (in my humble opinion!)
    Mr Botanist: It's the shared experience that makes it so compelling and I hope the tradition keeps going.
    Christine: Thinking of what our grandparents survived is a strong inspiration indeed.
    Thank you all for reading and sharing :-)

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