Veterans Day is a day that we honor and celebrate all of the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces; but what is the historical significance of November 11, and how has it came to be what it is today?
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, fighting ceased in one of the most brutal wars ever. That was when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany took effect, with the official end of World War I coming on June 28, 1919 and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Great War, as it was then known, had been the largest scale conflict the world had ever seen to that point, and the importance of the November 11 armistice was not lost on citizens across the U.S.
In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared that the 11th would commemorate that significant event with the first recognition of Armistice Day. “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…” said President Wilson when announcing the observance.
In 1938, a Congressional Act was approved that officially made Armistice Day a legal holiday throughout the country, honoring those veterans who had fought in World War I. The decade and half that followed again saw the U.S. involved in conflict; this time in the most widespread war in history (World War II) and a war that has informally been known as “The Forgotten War” (the Korean War). After World War II and the Korean War, veterans service organizations urged Congress to recognize the service men of these conflicts along with those recognized during Armistice Day. So, in 1954, Congress approved legislation to amend the 1938 Act, and officially recognized all veterans on November 11. The name of Armistice Day was then changed to Veterans Day.
On this, and every Veterans Day, please remember to thank those who have served. All put love of country and desire to protect the ones they loved over themselves when making the decision to serve. They deserve our thanks for defending our nation every day, but especially today. Thank the veterans who are still with us, and remember those who no longer are.
To all veterans, we at ReSound say Thank You!