NFL players urged to observe moment of silence

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The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has unanimously passed a resolution calling on all players to honor the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act during Sunday’s games.

What is this Act? Why is it so significant?

An Act with a noble history

The Act was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama on October 7, 2016. It calls on all Americans to observe a two-minute moment of silence on Veterans Day.

The Act follows a long tradition in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries in which a two-minute silence is observed each year on Armistice Day, November 11, at 11 a.m. The silence coincides with the time in 1918 when the First World War came to an end. A two-minute silence is also observed on Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday closest to November 11 each year.

This tradition originated in Cape Town, South Africa, where the mayor suggested one minute of thanksgiving for those who returned alive from the war, followed by another minute to remember the fallen.

A South African author named James Percy FitzPatrick proposed that this silence become an official part of the annual Armistice Day service. He explained his reasoning:

It is due to the women, who have lost and suffered and borne so much, with whom the thought is ever present.
It is due to the children that they know to whom they owe their dear fought freedom.
It is due to the men, and from them, as men.
But far and away, above all else, it is due to those who gave their all, sought no recompense, and with whom we can never repay–our Glorious and Immortal Dead.

Other countries have a similar tradition. I have been in Israel on Yom HaZikaron, the national day of remembrance, and watched as cars stopped and the nation came to a standstill for two minutes of remembrance and gratitude. India pauses each year on January 30 for two minutes of silence in remembrance of those who died in their country’s struggle for freedom.

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