Veterans Day History

Perhaps you have Veterans Day off and are thinking how great it is to have a 3 day weekend. You might even have a local celebration or parade that you can attend to honor your local veterans, but do you know how Veterans Day came to be?

Even though the Treaty of Versailles wasn’t signed until June 28, 1919, World War I came to an armistice seven months earlier on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, November 11, 1918. This date, at the time, became known as the end of “the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, we know now that this wouldn’t be true, but in November of 1919 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 to be the first celebration of Armistice Day. President Wilson would go on to say, “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…”

It wasn’t until June 4, 1926 though that The United States Congress officially recognized the end of WWI. It was on this date that they passed a resolution naming November 11th as the end of the war and that included in the resolution, “Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations;”

Finally, 12 years later on May 13, 1938, November 11 was made a legal holiday each year. At the time November 11 was known as Armistice Day and it was to celebrate and honor the veterans of WWI. After WWII and the Korean War many veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the name to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.

Now we have soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen from many more wars including Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Take some time this Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifices that they have made for our country and our freedom. Also remember that just because they are home doesn’t mean the war is over for them. Today many of our service members suffer from PTSD, and according to the Department of Veterans Affairs an average of 22 veterans take their own lives each day. If you are looking for ways to help out and honor veterans more than once a year check out organizations such as Team Red, White, and Blue and Active Heroes.

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