Today, I was the closer at lunch, meaning that I gave the announcements and said grace. I did the typical announcements — waiters, clear your tables; please would the following students meet Mrs. So-n-so after the meal; we are now going into C and D periods; and so on. Then I invited everyone to stand for grace, and waited for silence, which took about 40 seconds.
Then I said, “On this anniversary of Pearl Harbor, let us take a moment of silence to honor those men and women who become warriors in order to preserve the peace.”
For once, maybe just this once, the dining hall was absolutely quiet. Not little whispers here and there while being mostly quiet. Not kids being quiet while the adults on the far end continued their conversations. Not little snickers and sounds and whispers and people rushing to get their stuff to the dish return before heading back to classes.
Quiet. You know?
It dragged on for half a minute, maybe more. Then I said Amen. and everything burst into activity again. The dining hall cleared in about 15 seconds, and there were adults asking students to remove their hats in the dining hall, and a couple of kids wondering if the Japanese girl was upset that we honored Pearl Harbor Day, and somebody pushed someone else, and someone laughed at an off-color joke… and… and…
But it was quiet.
Justin D., and Joe B., Stuart P., and all my other former students who are in the military tonight… Gods know, my prayers are with you. Be well, be safe. Come home.