A silent tribute to all fallen heroes

Armistice day: Campaign to restore two-minute silence to war dead sees results today
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The Independent Online
MARY BRAID

"It is now in the hands of the public," said Jeremy Lillies, Royal British Legion spokesman, yesterday. "We have done our bit."

After six months' campaigning for the restoration of the Armistice day two-minute silence, the veterans' association will find out today, the 11th of the 11th, if it has managed to seize the public imagination and expand a ritual which originally commemorated the hundreds of thousands lost in the First World War to include all those who have died for their country.

For legion officials, who admit that they could yet end up with egg on their faces in the attempt to reintroduce a tradition which has been all but dead for half a century, it has been a nail-biting final week.

At times hitting the right tone proved a tricky business. The Sun newspaper, which championed the cause, has been angered by publicity consultants' attempts to keep the campaign's appeal as wide as possible and veer away from the downright jingoistic. Mr Lillies said yesterday that everyone - including pacifists - should feel able to take part.

A legion survey last week showed overwhelming support for the revival of the silence, even amongst those in their teens and early twenties. Prince Andrew, John Major and armed forces chiefs have led the establishment support. Mr Lillies said yesterday that if all pledges were honoured magistrates courts would put proceedings on hold and councils all over the country would set off flares at the beginning and end of the silence.

Nationwide, leading stores and supermarkets will turn off piped music. In London buses will pull over, taxis come to a halt, and the annual Lord Mayor's Show will delay its 11am start.

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