Veterans Day: An Origin Story

armistice-poster

Happy Veterans Day! For those not familiar with the origins (me before I researched this post) of Veterans day, here is a brief breakdown.

armistice day american troops in france AP

(American soldiers in France. Photo by the Associated Press.)

Originally dubbed Armistice day by President Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919, to commemorate the temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied Nations and Germany during World War I. The armistice went into effect  at 11 o’clock on the 11th of November 1918, thus effectively ending the war. Although, the treaty of Versailles wasn’t signed until June 28th 1919, and this officially ended the the war, most people attribute the armistice as the  true conclusion of the first World War.

In President Wilson’s proclamation he said, “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…”

Armistice Day became a legal holiday on May 13, 1938, dedicating each 11th of November to the cause of world peace and honor those that fought and sacrificed during the first World War.

Later in October of 1938, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day proclamation which stated,  “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.” This effectively changed Armistice day to Veterans Day.

So, with that in mind, take a moment to reflect on all those who have served our great country and thank a veteran today.

 

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