Two minutes of peace

This morning I expereinced something miraculous, wonderous, beautiful, strange, and different.  Today is the 72nd anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s death.  He was the founding father of modern Turkey.  At exactly 9:05 this morning, the precise time that he passed, all of Turkey came to a standstill for 2 minutes of silence.  I was driving on a highway at that time.  All of the vehicles stopped.   I stopped.  The radio stations went silent.  A few people got out of their cars and stood at attention. 

Two minutes of silence is not quite an appropriate term for what I experienced.  The driver of every vehicle soulfully honked his horn.  I am told that people will stop whereever they are, walking down the street or up a flight of stairs, and stand still for two minutes.

For most Turks, this is likely a sign of patriotism, a gesture of respect.  For me, this was something more.  It amazed me that the entire country participated in this act.  To me, it was two minutes of peace, love, and understanding.  It brought a tear to my eye.

Turkish Flag Flying High Above Anitkabir

It’s said that people see what they want to see.  I believe in that.  When I came to Turkey, I chose to write about my life here through rose-colored glasses.  I write of its landscapes and people and how things are different and how they are the same.  I could have been more harsh, saying that it is nothing like the U.S.  It doesn’t have this or that.  The people don’t do this or that.  I could have written that Turkey is not as beautiful as my old home.  But I decided at the beginning to see Turkey and all its wonders in a different light – a bright light.

Today, I saw Turkey at its brightest.  For two minutes, I heard peace.  I felt love.  And I was understood.

“The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.”
Robert Fulghum

6 thoughts on “Two minutes of peace

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  1. Dear Terry,

    You passed those tears in your eyes and gave them to my soul with your touchy words.

    As you will get to know ATAURK better, you will understand that he is not only our national leader but also he is an inspiring revolutionary character for the entire humanity within the means of independence, enlightenment and peace.

    When we stand still for two minutes, we are not only remembering his greatness for what he achieved for Turkey, but also we are refreshing our memories about our vision as a nation, that we have to continue to be the symbol and example for all the other nations; who is under the attack of the power-setters; that they can do the same and stand against and fight for their freedom.

    Ataturk’s legacy is hidden in his words.

    “Independence, is my character”

    I would like to welcome you to Turkey and wish you a very happy and healthy life in this land of legends and heroes.

    With my very best,


  2. Oh yes my Daughter, I too found this Peace when I came to the United States 62 Years ago, I too had left a beautiful homeland, Waretorn but my Home where my Parents and Sibling lived. But I found a beautiful Chester County, with Forest and Hills and so much green Grass, and it was the same beautiful green I left behind in Bavaria. I am so lucky I have two Homes and I cry when I hear our Star Spangled Banner and also when I hear the German Stat Song.
    Thak you Tfheresa for reminding me on this. Mom

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