National Moment of Silence

January 14, 2016 | Society Spotlight

By Gavin McIlvenna, Centennial Committee Chairman

On November 11th, members of the SHGTUS Centennial Committee facilitated the inaugural National Moment of Silence (NMS) project in five states across the United States. The NMS project, led by SHGTUS Chaplain Chuck Shacochis (1965-67) is one of 15 different projects the Centennial Committee is working on. The focus for this year is on religious organizations, asking them lead their communities in pausing to remember the American Veteran and the Unknown Soldiers buried in the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery.

On the the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month across the United States and in foreign lands, Americans were asked to pause and recognize those who have sacrificed and those who will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s “Freedom and Democracy.” The concept is to have churches toll their bells 21 times, followed by the playing of Taps. For those churches that don’t have bells we recommended that they pause for 2 minutes at an appropriate time during their service, the first minute for the Veterans of all wars and the second minute for the future Veterans that will continue to defend this great nation.

Sean Kimsey of The Dalles, Oregon rings the Old St. Paul's church bell on November 11th, 2015

Sean Kimsey of The Dalles, Oregon rings the Old St. Paul’s church bell on November 11th, 2015

The NMS project members have been reaching out over the past year, contacting over 40 various religious organizations in ten states to assist in the project. Below are those organizations that replied and participated this year:

Walk of Heroes War Memorial in Conyers, Georgia
Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon in Cove, Oregon
Episcopal Church in Hood River, Oregon
Mid Columbia Fire & Rescue in The Dalles, Oregon
Ocean Breeze Baptist Church in Tillamook, Oregon
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in The Dalles, Oregon
Zion Lutheran Church in The Dalles, Oregon
Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, New York
Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Bethany Lane Baptist Church in Ellicott City, Maryland
Baltimore-Washington Conference, United Methodist Church in Fulton, Maryland

Next year project members will look to expand the participation and include more first responder organizations across the United States. If you would like to help with this project in your community, please contact me at vicepresident@tombguard.org and we will help you get started.

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SHGTUS Chaplain Chuck Shacochis rings the bell on Veterans Day at the Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Woodbine, Maryland.