One Minute of Silence

Posted on 10 November 2009

Armistice Day 1937 

At precisely 11 o’clock on November 11, 1918, the guns of World War I fell silent.  With the signing of the Armistice between Germany and the Allied countries, the first global conflict officially ended.  Armistice Day was thus created to commemorate the men and women who served their country during World War I.  On this day of remembrance, we observed one minute of silence for those who gave their lives to bring peace to the world.


As a boy growing up during the Great Depression, I distinctly remember that, at the stroke of the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, factory whistles would blow, signaling that one minute of silence.  At that moment, every man, woman, and child in this great nation paused to respect the soldiers who had fought and died in World War I.


After “The War to End All Wars” ceased, President Woodrow Wilson, who dreamed of lasting peace, formed the League of Nations to ensure harmony worldwide.   For two decades, peace reigned.  When World War II erupted, it swept Europe, England, the United States, parts of Africa, and Japan into a conflict that lasted four very long, bloody years.


When it finally ended, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in order to pay our respects to those who had fallen during both World Wars.  In so doing, something profound was lost in the transition: that one moment of silence.


In today’s rapidly changing, politically correct world, when holidays set aside to honor God and Country are losing their meaning, I would like to see that old world custom restored to Veterans Day:  that minute of silence when every man, woman, and child pauses, no matter where they are and what they are doing, to honor and respect, lest we forget. 


Veterans Day - Thank a Vet

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33 Responses to “One Minute of Silence”

  1. Kim says:

    This is a great article and I think a lot of people often forget the story behind Veterans Day. It’s turned into such a commercial shopping holiday and it’s so very important that we never forget to acknowledge it’s real purpose. Everyone should take time today to thank our soldiers both past and present for fighting for our country and protecting our freedom.

    The recent tragedy at Fort Hood is so unfortunate and I pray for the family and friends that lost a loved one. It’s crazy what the war can do to some people and it’s also very sad. I was on Facebook today and actually came across an ad for a site called Prescription Audio that’s offering a free download of their PTSD audio therapy for those in the military. This is something that I hope they’re marketing well because I have friends in the military suffering from this very disease and will be sure to pass it along. If you know of anyone that could benefit from this as well here’s the link:

  2. Hair of the Dog says:

    Thank you for this succinct, profound article. Now that I know about the one minute of silence, I would like to see it reinstated, in order to truly page homage to our fallen soliders and our veterans.

  3. Robert Petruzzelli says:

    Many of our holidays seem to have lost their meaning. For how many are Memorial Day and Labor Day just holidays that extend a weekend or signal the beginning or the end of a vacation?

    Veterans’ Day has always had a special meaning to me and not just because it was my father’s birthday. I have always been interested in history and particularly U.S History. I have read so many books on so many topics in U.S. History that I cannot remember them all. But on the subject of Veterans’ Day, three come to mind.

    The first, War’s End by Maj. Gen Charles Sweeney tells the story of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that led to the surrender of Japan. Gen. Sweeney wrote the book to tell what he knew as the truth about the atomic missions. As the only man to be on both missions, he was uniquely qualified to preserve and report the facts as one who was there.

    I would recommend War’s End to anyone with even a passing interest in history and would say it is required reading, along with the next two, for anyone who doubts the rightousness of the US action.

    The next two are Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose and Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley. Read these two books and you will never look at a soldier or a veteran the same way again.

    I had an opportunity to speak with Gen. Sweeney. After reading the book,I wanted to write a letter to him, thanking him for his service and for writing the book. I started by looking up the publisher on the internet and not finding it quickly, searched for Gen. Sweeney. To my surprise, what popped up was his address and phone number. I felt a little guilty invading his privacy, but I had to call. When the phone was answered, I asked timidly if I might please speak with General Sweeney. “You got’im” was the reply. He chatted with me for over a half hour. It was a privilege to speak with an American Hero that I will not forget.

    After reading Citizen Soldiers and The Flags of Our Fathers, I realized that there were thousands of American heroes in our midst everyday. They may not wear their uniforms any more but they are out there, even in your own family.

    In May 2004, I was traveling with my daughter’s soccer team as an assistant coach. We were at a tournament in Maryland but were staying in DC on the weekend the WWII Memorial was dedicated. As I was coming out of the hotel with about a dozen of our girls, I saw an elderly man leaning up against the wall with his wife next to him. From the cap on his head, he was clearly a vet and looking exhausted at the end of a long day of ceremonies.

    I told my girls that they probably wouldn’t understand but that I was going to say thank you to this man because he and thousands like him made it possible for us to be playing soccer on Memorial Day weekend.

    I went up to him and offered my hand, thanking him for his service. As I walked away, I turned to see that each of my girls, shook his hand or gave him a peck on the cheek and said “thank you”. He stood tall as each offered their thanks. I am not sure who was more proud, me or his wife, who stood there beaming with tears running down her cheeks.

    All it took was for someone to say “thank you”. I think of him often and hope that he is well.

    So, Happy Veterans’ Day and “Thank You” Uncle Tom.


  4. Author says:

    On November 11th 2009 at the VFW Post 2445 in Maple Sgade NJ the Minute of Slience was observed at an indoor Veterans Day service to honor and respect the men and women the day was set aside for It was Hosted by Acting Commander Ron Kulig thse attending was Representative from local government,interested town people, members of the American Legion,members of Post 2445 and yours truly.The service also included an inspiring song titled “Proud to be an American” sung by a 15year old Maple Shade High School Student Morgan Connolly

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