Veteran’s Day – A Rich and Storied History

Every year on November 11th we Americans celebrate National Veteran’s Day to pay homage to all of those brave men and women who, throughout history, have bravely fought to defend our freedom.
What many people don’t know however is that the very first Veteran’s Day or Armistice Day took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, when an armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect, essentially ending what we have come to know as “the war to end all wars”, World War I. At the time, an “unknown soldier” was buried at both the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and at Westminster Abbey in England. In 1921, following the lead of England and France, the United States buried the remains of a World War I veteran whose name was “known but to God” on the site which is known to us as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
On November 11, 1919 President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day as a way of reflecting on and paying tribute to the heroism of all who fought in the most devastating and destructive war the world had ever known. Then on May 13th 1938, an act was passed to make Armistice Day a legal holiday in recognition of World War I veterans and also as a day dedicated to world peace. It wasn’t until 1954, after a record number of forces was deployed to fight in World War II and then followed by the Korean conflict that the 83rd Congress amended the act by removing the word Armistice and replacing it with Veteran to honor American veterans of all wars.
The Veteran’s Day celebration in America is marked by the all important tradition of placing a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknowns. At exactly 11 a.m. on every November 11th, in the presence of members from each branch of the military, while Taps is being played, the President of the United States places the wreath at the Tomb.
So this Veteran’s Day, take time out to reflect on the rich history of our great American heroes and to say “thank you” to all those who’s loyalty and dedication to this country has protected our freedom!

November 9th, 2012

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