Today is Veterans Day, President Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 11 AM as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be 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…”
World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However fighting ended about seven months before that when the allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason November 11, 1918 was considered the end of “The war to end all wars” and in 1938 it became an official holiday, permanently set aside to honor veterans of World War I. After World War II and Korea, June 1, 1954, at the urging of veteran service organizations, Congress amended the commendation yet again by changing the word Armistice to Veterans so the day would honor all veterans of all wars. On September 20, 1975 President Gerald Ford signed another law (Public Law 94-97) which returned the annual observance to its original date starting in 1978.
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 am.
What does this solemn day mean to you? How do you observe it, with a paid day off from work or a day off from school? Maybe shopping for big savings at local stores, how about a bar b q weather permitting. You may even watch a war movie or two, but do you hang your American flag? Do you thank those who have served in uniform? When you sit down to eat do you include those who died serving when you say grace?
I am proud to live in America where I have the right to work and live free, to worship according to my heart, to seek education, and to pursue happiness. So on this day and the other 364 days of the year I say “Thank you” to those who stepped forward, wore a uniform, and did what had to be done to assure our freedoms. If you are reading this and you served “God bless you!” If you know someone who served please share this with them.