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    The little-known origin of the minute's silence 
    #1
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    swilow's Avatar
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    I have no idea if Armistice Day is of any importance to the US folks here, but its commemortated in Australia and the British 'colonies' on 11/11/2018.

    I tend to see it as glorifying violence and tragedy but, nonetheless, on 11/11 at 11.00am there is a minute silence. Sort of odd that perform this ritual, and this article is quite interesting.

    The little-known origin of the minute's silence

    Across the road from the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, a humble plaque set in a constellation of rocks reads:

    In memory of Edward George Honey who died in 1922, a Melbourne journalist who while living in London first suggested the solemn ceremony of silence.



    Honey, who served during World War I, was the first to publicly suggest silence as a vessel to hold the sorrow and loss of war ? and even thoughts of triumph.

    The idea came to him after November 11, 1918 ? when news of the Allies' victory sparked rowdy euphoria in the streets of London.

    Rather than celebrating, Honey's thoughts turned to the colossal cost of the Great War.

    "The world [had] been torn to pieces and he [was] clutching for a new vocab of remembrance," says historian Bruce Scates from the Australian National University.

    Honey found a vocab more powerful than any words: silence.

    "Silence can mean something to everyone," Professor Bruce Scates says.

    "It's an empty space you can fill with any thought you need to.

    "But most important for Honey, what it's saying is we can share this silence, even if you haven't lost someone immediately close to you."

    The moment of silence filled a deep need in people to make sense of what had happened to them.
    -read on.

    As far as minutes of silence goes, the one annually held in Israel to mark the Holocaust seems intense. Everyone just stops everything no matter what they are doing . . .

    I had family in both wars- in WW1, parts of my family will still considered wildlife but okay to die at the whims of the conqueror. WWII had my grandfather in Papua New Guinea, returning as a stranger to his family, with tuberculosis and the inability to ever mention the War . . . though my cousin interviewed him towards the end of his days and he spoke of awful things, pointless things that helped nobody, that caused suffering. I think we should remember war to- maybe- help us recognise the steps that lead there and avoid taking them. I think humans are warlike and have an urge to dominate- and yet, as my grandafather demonstrated, we are rather inept at processing the consequences of violence- it traumatises us deeply and often irrevocably- I think this suggests that our evolutionary past did NOT involve heaps of conflict and violence. To most human minds, extreme violence is alien and impossible to reconcile. Its not our natural state IMO. But is possibly the default state for large, complex civilisations, whose greatest threat comes from the humans constituting it.

    I won't observe a minute silence because I think its trite and meaningless, but I do find the human desire to make symbolic gestures interesting and almost charming.
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    It is Veterans' Day now in the US.
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    The average American knows diddly-squat about WW1. It is totally eclipsed in the public mind by WW2, which is more easily digestible as a story of freedom and democracy triumphing over the fascist war machine in Europe & the far east.

    The lesson from both conflicts is similar, though, at least in the sense that nationalism is like hard alcohol: a little bit is (arguably) harmless, but too much leads to lethal and deranged consequences
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    ^Decent analogy there.

    It took me a lot of research to conclude that WW2 was really the second half of WW1.
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