The Millions

The Sound of Silence: Have We Forgotten How to Be Quiet?

The entire Western front went silent at exactly 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918. An armistice had been reached earlier that morning between the Allies and Germany, so it was agreed that hostilities would cease at that precise hour. Last year, audiologists at London’s Imperial War Museum used seismic data that had been gathered in the trenches as part of the war effort to recreate that moment. Now it’s possible to listen to what American troops along the River Moselle heard: repeated blasts of artillery fire for two minutes, a final explosion, and then at 11 a few gentle bird chirps in the autumn morning as everything falls quiet. An eerie, stunning, beautiful sound. The most sacred thing you will

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