The King Proposes Two Minutes' Silence; 1919
Copy of telegram from the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governor General
Canada Gazette; 15 November, 1919
6th November, 1919
I am commanded by His Majesty the King to send you for immediate publication the following message which is addressed to all the peoples of the Empire, begins,—
To all my People: Tuesday next, 11th November, is the first anniversary of the armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years, and marked the victory of right and freedom. I believe that my People in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that great deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.
To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month there may be for a brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of our normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this might be impracticable, all work, all sound and all locomotion should cease, so that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.
No elaborate organization seems to be necessary. At a given signal, which can be easily arranged to suit the circumstances of each locality I believe that we shall all gladly interrupt out business and pleasure whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of silence and remembrance.
This will be published in the Press here tomorrow morning. Arrangements are being made for the general observance of the two minutes silence at eleven o'clock next Tuesday. Trains will be stopped on the railways, traffic on the streets, ships as far as possible at sea, and every effort will be made to get work suspended everywhere, in schools, shops, mines, and factories and to ensure complete silence.
His Majesty hopes that Your Ministers may be willing to arrange for a similar observance.
It is, of course, impracticable owing to the distance that the ceremony should synchronize throughout the Empire. It is therefore suggested that eleven a.m. local time should be adopted everywhere.
Similar message being sent to India and to every Dominion and Colony in the Empire.