The 11 o’clock toast is clearly a powerful moment for all members to appreciate an exceptional sentiment. Although a long-held ritual for the Elks, its foundation is many centuries older, based on what we would probably refer to as a curfew today.
In fact, the word curfew dates back to the significance of the 11 o’clock toast, as its original intent was to discourage soldiers and civilians alike during a battle from putting themselves in harms way by leaving their home or camp, and encourage them to reach home by this time. The word curfew literally meant to extinguish the campfire as a tactic to avoid drawing attention. So the ‘tender significance’ is the safety and regrouping of us all, and a remembrance of all ELKS living or dead.
You have heard the tolling of eleven strokes. This is to remind us that with Elks the hour of eleven has a tender significance. Wherever Elks may roam, whatever their lot in life may be, when this hour falls upon the dial of night the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs. It is the golden hour of recollection, the homecoming of those who wander, the mystic roll call of those who will come no more.