With Silent Thanks; Most of the Nation Will Stop Work Today in a Second Tribute to Fallen

Daily Mail (London), November 11, 1996 | Go to article overview

With Silent Thanks; Most of the Nation Will Stop Work Today in a Second Tribute to Fallen


Byline: MICHAEL HARVEY

AS WE remembered them yesterday, we will remember them again today.

Millions who observed the two minutes' silence on Remembrance Sunday will pause again on Armistice Day to honour the war dead.

Up to 80 per cent of the population is expected to stop work and school lessons at 11am today as factories, supermarkets, airports, councils and broadcasters mark the occasion.

The two minutes' silence was reintroduced on November 11 last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Now all three main political party leaders have given their support to the tribute which in the 1920s and 1930s brought cities and towns to a virtual halt.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was the moment the guns fell silent at the end of World War I in 1918.

But the observance of Armistice Day faded away after the introduction of Remembrance Sunday following the Second World War.

Royal British Legion spokesman David France said yesterday: `We believe there should be both. There is a need for a day of solemnity and religious ceremony and also a moment of reflection in the workplace and particularly the classroom.

`We are very pleased to think that most people will be marking the occasion today.

`We sense a much greater interest in the idea of remembrance and the silence. It is almost certain that Sunday's silence was observed by more people than for many years.'

In particular young people seemed to be showing much more respect, he said.

The Legion will be studying its surveys of how the public responded to the two silences before deciding whether to press for an official readoption of Armistice Day.

Falklands veteran and former Welsh Guard Simon Weston urged people to make the effort today. He said: `It is important to take time out to think of what others have done for us.'

John Major will be observing the silence today while working on a speech at 10, Downing Street but there is little prospect of the Government imposing an officially sanctioned observance of Armistice Day. …

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