I thought it was important for all to understand the history behind Veteran’s Day, which we observed yesterday. It is not just an annoyance because the banks and the post office are closed. It has a special meaning and history to all who have served in the United States Military. It should carry a significant meaning to all who are citizens of this country. I am pleased that many of our schools are now observing this day with assemblies that honor our veterans. Here is the history lesson:
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. Fighting, however, had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, (i.e. a temporary cessation of hostilities) went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. In his speech he 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…" Originally, the day was intended to be observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
On May 13, 1938, an Act made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday, known as "Armistice Day.". It was to be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, after World War II, which had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history and after American forces fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, amended the Act of 1938 and replaced the word "Armistice" with the word "Veterans” making November 11th a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
For a short period of time, Veterans Day was observed as part of a federal three day weekend plan until it became apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic importance and worthy of more than weekend holiday status. On September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. Veterans Day continues to be a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Thank you to all of the military who have helped preserve our freedom. May God bless you for your selflessness and service.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!