Friday, November 11, 2005

Armistice Day

It was the "War to End War" and it was the war to "Make the World Safe for Democracy." It ended at eleven o’clock in the morning on the eleventh day of November in 1918.

Until wars to come transformed Armistice Day into Veterans Day, Americans across the nation stopped whatever they were doing—in businesses, or stores, or schools—at eleven o’clock and observed a minute of silence. I remember one Armistice day when I was in Chicago’s Marshall Field’s department store with my mother. A bell rang and the whole great building hushed and was still.

I have always thought that moment of silence was a fitting way to honor sacrifice and express a devotion to peace. Our parades and celebrations are certainly fitting and proper… but wouldn’t it be wonderful if once again at eleven o’clock in the morning that great and reverential quiet could roll across the country.

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