Two Minutes – Commentary

By Hareem Masroor
Two minutes of silence is all we have to remember the fallen. I look up and see the veterans. The medals on their uniforms gleam in the sunlight. The call for the two minute silence was made. As their heads hung, their faces reveal sorrow from the memories of the war, however there’s also a glimpse of strength, pride and relief. I turn my head to the left and see a row of brightly coloured poppies pinned onto the shirts of those I see. For most of us kids it was unnatural to be in such a quiet setting, but once I closed my eyes I began to dwell into the mindset of why we remember. It was here when I realize that there was more to this silence than simply trying to remember soldiers, nurses and others who participated meet horrific ends.
These two minutes allow us to think deeply. War was able to destroy lives of so many families and innocent people, but it wasn’t able to destroy the hope that clinged within them, the action to carry on nor the ability to ever say our county “will never win.” It is this significance that marks an important feeling in our hearts. The reason we have silence is to mark the end of war. We remember more than lost lives within two minutes. We reflect on what the soldiers were fighting for, how they chose to enter darkness in order to give us light. Their harsh conditions brought us all comfort and freedom, their struggles on the battlefield is what gave us a strong country, their lives were given to let our children move on and start life at a better place.
It seemed as if the whole place fell still, frozen in time. This moment is when we all put aside our boundaries such as gender, religion and class to unite in remembrance. The silence breaks with a strong sound coming from a trumpet as it plays the song “The Fallen.”
Afterwards the ceremony concludes with speeches and then a last march accompanied by bagpipes. I noticed tears spring from a veteran’s eyes. It filled me with just as much sadness. I couldn’t imagine the pain and sorrow it must have been to watch comrades die in front of your eyes or to know that you couldn’t see the faces of your loved ones ever again. After all I was just a kid and the idea of war was so distant. It really is admirable when you think about it, these people were just neighbours and good citizens, yet they had the courage to fight in war and leave their homes to protect the future of their country and generations.
To me that deserves a huge recognition and award. I walked over to the veteran and plainly replied, “thank you for your service and God bless you all for what you did.” I know that words can’t truly express the debt that we owe them but it still felt right to show this person how grateful I was for his and all the fellows veterans services.
Remembrance day, it comes only once a year, but on this one day the heart of the ceremony comes from the silence. It gives us some understanding about war and the effects of sacrifice, a lesson seldomly seen and also a lesson that can never be truly grasped from books. We recognize the efforts of mere strangers who placed themselves either at land or sea to make sure that we’re given the opportunities that we have today. This gives us an infinite way of honouring, respecting and giving our thanks to these soldiers. I stand taller, walk prouder and feel confident that I am a Canadian. What’s great is that I’ve learned most of this through silence, a two minute silence.