At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Treat of Versailles was signed by Germany and the Allied powers officially ending the Great War or as we refer to it today, World War I. A war that stretched on for four years in Europe and one year for the United States. On that occasion, President Woodrow Wilson stated:
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.
In 1921, Congress passes legislation that there shall be a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and honors shall be conducted on Armistice Day, November 11th. And on October 20, Congress declares that starting on November 11, 1921 Armistice Day is a legal federal holiday to honor those who fought in the war.
It wasn’t until June 1, 1954, that President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the official name of the legal federal holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
Today, we honor those who fought for this country. Those who died in service. Those who were wounded in service. Those who returned home to loved ones. No matter what your feelings on war, honoring those who risk their lives day in and day out so we may continue to enjoy the freedoms we have should never be a question. To those men and women past, present, and future, I say thank you. Thank you for your dedication to this country, thank you for your willingness to put your life on the line, and thank you for your courage.
Information about Armistice Day and Veterans Day found at The History of Veteran’s Day