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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Take Two Minutes to Remember

Today, on Remembrance Sunday, millions of people in the United Kingdom fell silent to remember those who served or died in war. 

Tomorrow on November 11th, millions of Canadians will  do the same thing.

As the clock strikes 11 a.m., they will pause for two minutes to commemorate  the day when Europe experienced its first moments of peace at the end of World War 1. 

Why November 11th?  
On 11 November 1918,  after four years of non stop warfare, the guns of the Western Front fell silent. The allied armies had pushed the German invaders back, having  heavily defeated them in many major battles in the previous four months. 

In November the Germans called for an armistice (an end to the fighting) in order to negotiate a peace settlement. At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Germany completely surrendered and signed the peace agreement with the Allies. 

The 11th hour. 

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month became very significant in the years after the war. The moment when fighting ended on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in World War 1. .

This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilization  of over 70 million people and left between 9 and 13 million dead. Almost one third of those dead lay in an unknown grave.    
Why two minutes of silence ?  

On the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919 two minutes' silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new  war memorial in London. 

King George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand among others, to stop all normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice  "which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and Freedom". 

The two minutes' silence was popularly adopted and it became a central feature of the ceremonies during which veterans are officially remembered. 

In Canada, Australia, New Zealand, millions will observe the two minutes of silence, even if they don't live in a province where Remembrance Day is an official holiday. But, many will not.  

Watch the listen to the following video that deals with this issue. Answer the questions BEFORE watching the video. 

A Pittance of Time 

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM the store made an announcement asking customers to stop what they were doing and give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with that unlike so many other stores who completely ignore Remembrance Day, this store was playing a leadership role in adopting the two minutes of silence initiative. 

On that day, at  eleven o'clock, the store made another announcement requesting that people begin their two minutes of silence. Every customer, except for one man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect, bowed their heads and remained silent.
Angry at the father's behaviour  - which showed a bad example to his child, Terry wrote a song that showed how he felt and why he thought it was so important to be silent for two minutes. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

The next video delivers a similar message:  . 

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