SEAN BLACKMAN: The power of silence

Sean Blackman says the two minutes silence on Remembrance Sunday is extremely powerful  (Shutterstock)
Sean Blackman says the two minutes silence on Remembrance Sunday is extremely powerful (Shutterstock)
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How do you feel about silence?

Try it for a minute. How did it feel? Most people do not like silence but on Remembrance Sunday at 11am two minutes silence will be held and will be adhered do throughout the United Kingdom.

This silence represents the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the guns of Europe fell silent in the First World War.

Why is silence so awkward?

Why is this pause from noise so uncomfortable? One of the reasons we find silence difficult is because we are so unused to it.

And if the silence is longer than the average pause we do not always know what to do with ourselves.

There is also the issue of war. Occasions like Remembrance Sunday get us thinking both about previous wars and how we think about war in general. Most of us would agree that war is generally a bad thing and that Winston Churchill’s assertion that ‘meeting jaw to jaw is better than war’ is always best.

Yet, with recent events with North Korea and the United States, it is foolish for us to think war is something we are unlikely to see again. Particularly in light of President Trump’s tweets.

Perhaps one thing worth thinking about in the silence is the courage and the bravery of the soldiers themselves.

Most of us would be prepared to defend ourselves and our loved ones, but would we be prepared to lay our lives down for our country or a cause? Most of us would probably say ‘no’.

During the Second World War, United States General Douglas MacArthur said, ‘The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.’

Now that is something worth thinking about, at least for two minutes, without saying anything.

Silence is an appropriate way of acknowledging the sacrifice of others. Words fail us. This is why silence is so powerful.