Lanterns: Moment of silence


Moment of silence

When does a war begin?

Is it when people start shooting? Is it when a country starts dropping bombs?

Or does it begin when people stop talking? 

There are plentiful examples of countries talking to each other right up until the moment of attack, like the Japanese and Pearl Harbor. But those examples possess the purpose of misdirection. The words were meaningless in content except to fill the void and keep hidden the moment of silence. Because its universally recognized for what it is. Governments use the term when communications cease. It’s indicitave of what comes next.



It’s all about perspective really. We tend to reference a certain date and time when a war began, as if there were some memo that went out and said, "The war will begin promptly at nine. Don’t be late." When, in fact, the war had really begun long before. Think of the taxation acts of colonial America, or bloody Kansas ten years before the first shot at first Manassas. And before that, the moment of silence, when the parties simply stopped talking, and listening. For all the sound and fury across the political landscape today is that what has happened to us already in America? Is that moment of silence upon us now

Individually, that moments comes for all of us, until it reaches its collective boil and the blood begins to spill. I, myself, confess to it in terms of ceasing real communication with the other side. What else do I do when I simply cannot arrive at reason with a person on that other side

What else happens when our positions have become so hostile that I cannot in good conscience accede to a single item on their side of the table, or they mine?

I will not accede my right of self-defense or those of my loved ones or community to any government. 

I will not accede my approval or endorsement of what I believe to be sexual deviance of any kind practiced openly. 

I will not accede that I possess a magical privilege that oppresses all other ethnicities just because I was born white, nor that I should be punished for it. 

I will not accede to any revisionism of history, American, or otherwise. The American form of government is not a democracy. It was not born so, nor must it become so.  It was, is, and must always remain a Constitutional Republic. 

I will not accede that the Confederate flag belongs anywhere except flying freely and proudly below her sister, Ole Glory. The dead earned that right, in blue and gray. 

I will not accede to communist or socialist brainwashing of our country’s children and youth.

I will not accede that illegal immigrants possess any right accorded to citizenship. Until they become so through the due process of law, they are criminals and should be treated as such. 

I will not accede that Islam or any other religions, peoples, entities or groups have any part or place within the fabric of America except it be as American and sharing our values, laws, and customs. Those who do not honor us thusly, are not welcome. 

In the quiet of my mind, I must ask myself how far am I willing to go to preserve these ideals and others? And my answer must be carefully weighed. I need to walk the hallowed grounds. I must feel the cold chill of haunting winds upon that precipice from which there is there is no turning back. For well do I know that all wars begin, and end, with a moment of silence. 


Written by Ben Coleman

Freelance author, historian and Navy veteran. Find him at

2 Responses

Very well written, Ben. And a chilling reality check, I think. Is there a way to avoid that moment of silence without compromising on core values? Is there a way to keep the dialogue going, perhaps, with new language? Eager to hear more of your thoughts on this matter. Pax, brother!

Thank you very much for that reply Sarah. Because that is precisely the point of the article. We must ultimately be deeply cognizant of what we're doing when we make that decision within ourselves, and within a conservative community that "I just can't talk to those people anymore" when dealing with liberals. We have to be..aware of the moment...if you will, and seriously ask ourselves, have we really exhausted all means of dialogue? Is there really nothing more of value we can exchange? Or has the time truly come to step off over that precipice and draw our line in the sand? Or are we honestly prepared to compromise things we feel are, core beliefs, in exchange for ...more peace?

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