This week while planning the Remembrance Day service, I was surprised to find that it was a Melbourne based journalist, Edward George Honey, who first proposed a period of silence for national remembrance in a letter published in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919. The suggestion came to the notice of Georve V, who on 7 November 1919 issued a proclamation that called for two minutes as part of Armistice Day celebrations. So, at 11.00am on 11 November 1919, Australia stopped, “all locomotion ceased so that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on a reverent remembrance of the glorious dead”.
92 years later we are still doing it, although in 1997 the Governor-General reduced it to one minutes silence! How typical of the current trends in our world. We cannot bear to waste that extra minute of work time! It seems to me that we need to pause more often to consider the ultimate questions – not just our rich history and the sacrifice made by so many to give us what we take for granted, but to also consider who we are and what is our role in the bigger picture of history unfolding today!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley