Veterans Day is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
World War I, known at times as “The Great War”, officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice or temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations …”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized November 11 as the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926.
An Act approved May 13, 1938 made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday, a day dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day”. Armistice Day was primarily set aside to honor the veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II and aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans”. With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became the day to honor American Veterans of all wars.
The observance of Veterans Day on November 11th not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Please remember to thank a Veteran today.