“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of 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.”
– President Woodrow Wilson
Veterans Day (formerly known as Armistice Day) is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. The date, November 11th, is significant as it marked the end of World War I.
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany 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” and is now the day when we honor those who served, and are currently serving, our country.
On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Congress had declared the day a legal federal holiday in honor of all those who participated in the war. The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C.
In a time where so much of our attention is focused on the state of our economy, the ever changing political climate and the polarizing of our nation, it is important to remember that we are in a time of war. Men and women are risking their lives, so many have before them, to create a safer and better future for our nation and our world. As a result, military families find themselves adjusting their lifestyle to accommodate these changes. Thankfully, as troops return home, many families are reunited with their loved ones.
I am extremely proud of my Grandfather who was a member of the Army during World War II. Without him and other WWII vets, we would live in a very different world. My cousin is coming to the end of his service with the Marines. After a deployment to Iraq and then to Afghanistan, he has returned home and will be discharged in the spring. I am amazed by his decision to enlist and I am so inspired by his courage and selflessness. In a time of war, to join the military knowing that you will see combat, is truly a patriot act.
Thank you to all of the men and women who have, and are currently serving, our nation.