A Mindful Doctor on the Two Minute Silence

I have often wondered what people think about during the Remembrance Day two minute silence.

I was prompted to reflect on that question when I visited the Imperial War Museum this week. I must admit I have never visited the museum before as I consider myself a bit of a pacifist, and dislike the jingoism and glorification of war.

However, the title of the recent exhibition Making a New World seemed to suggest there are lessons we could learn from conflict, so I felt it would be worth a visit. Indeed, it did exceed expectations. The museum’s displays, using some interactive exhibits, gave an insight into the complexity of the struggle, and the story of the people involved. My daughter and I stayed for over 3 hours, and plan to return to see more.

The highlight for me was an innovative exhibition at the museum called Moments of Silence. It is an immersive installation exploring the origins, history and future of remembrance rituals, one of which is the two minute silence.

In a darkened room there are a series of twelve Remembrance Day silences, a number of which were recorded at 11am on 11 November 2017. Predominantly collected from around the UK, the recordings include a wide-ranging variety of two-minute silences, from the first ever recorded silence at the 1929 Cenotaph Remembrance Service to present day silences at Everest Base Camp and also one on a submarine.

Standing there listening to them it made me think ‘Yes, it is good to reflect on the causes and results of the First World War and on other wars, but also what can I do to help prevent the situation from happening again? And as we know is still happening now.’ So, I spent some of the silence time to connect with the Source and send light and love to all our world leaders and to those suffering in present wars.

Moments of Silence is a free exhibition at the Imperial War Museum until 31st March 2019.

Craig Brown

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