15 Oct 2013 @ 12:15
Remembrance Day Traditions - Minute of Silence


After over four years of continuous warfare on the Wester Front, the gun fire finally ceased when the German Government accepted the terms of the armistice and surrendered from war.


The peace treaty was signed at 11am on November 11, 1918.


This time marks the moment when hostilities ended on the Western Front and has become universally associated with remembering those who had fought or died in war.


On 8 May 1919 Australian journalist, Edward Honey, published a letter in The London Evening News, proposing a period of silence be observed nationally at 11am on 11 November 1919. A similar proposal was made by a South African statesman to the British Cabinet at the same time.


The proposals were endorsed, and all people in the British Empire were personally requested by King George V to partake in a “complete suspension of all our normal activities” to be observed for two minutes at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” so that “in perfect silence and stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead”.


At 11am on 11 November 1919, two minutes silence was observed for the first time as a tribute to the men and women who had died in the battlefields of Gallipoli, Europe and in the Middle East. The two minutes silence was popularly adopted by the allied nations and became a central aspect of the commemorations of Armistice Day.


The Last Post is a bugle call which is sounded at commemorative ceremonies prior to the minute of silence. Traditionally, The Last Post was played at 10pm each evening during the war to signal to the soldiers that the day had come to an end. Nowadays it is commonly played at commemorative ceremonies and funerals as a final farewell to our soldiers while signifying that their duty is over and that they can rest in peace.


Following the minute of silence The Rouse is sounded. The Rouse was played each morning throughout the war to awaken soldiers and prepare them for the new day. The Reveille is a similar yet extended piece of music to the Rouse which is only played at ANZAC Day ceremonies.