The Origin of Veterans Day
Did you know that Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day and was celebrated by other countries along with America?
World War I was known as, “The Great War”. And though the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, the fighting ceased seven months earlier. The Allied Nations and Germany had an armistice, a temporary halt to the fighting.
It was agreed upon that on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, their would be an armistice. And because of that, November 11, 1918 was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars”.
11.11.11 – The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.
In 1921, an unknown American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, which became the focal point of reverence for American veterans. Similar ceremonies took place earlier in England and France where one of their unknown soldiers were buried at their nation’s highest place of honor, which also took place on November 11th. The day became known as “Armistice Day”.
The First Veterans Day
It wasn’t until 1947 that we started using the term Veterans Day. Raymond Weeks, a WWII veteran organized a “National Veterans Day” in Birmingham, AL. The event included a parade and other festivities to honor all veterans.
A bill was proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Congress passed the bill in 1954 that President Eisenhower signed proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.
In 1968, a law was passed to change Veterans Day to the 4th Monday in October. However November 11th stuck out to too many people as a day of remembrance and in 1978, Congress moved the day back to November 11.
Every Veterans Day
At 11am today, a combined color guard will execute a “Present Arms” at the tomb of the unknowns, followed by a bugler playing, “taps”.
So in your busy moments of today, remember to honor our American veterans for their sacrifice, their patriotism and love of our country.
What It Means To Me
I served in the Navy back in 1987. I was only a kid, but I was proud to serve, with my shipmates on the USS Coral Sea (CV-43). Every time we left a port, the ship played, “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood over its loud speakers (1MC). It gave you chills to hear it played and here it is 27 years later and the song still gives me chills.
Last year my father-in-law took us out to Applebees and he proudly wore his Vietnam Vet hat and jacket. I was in-awe of the responses he got walking into Applebees. If you didn’t know, Applebees gives a free meal to all veterans on this day. It must have taken him 15 minutes just to walk into the restaurant.
As for me, my cruise jacket doesn’t me anymore. My Coral Sea hat is somewhere up in the attic. But I was still served a complimentary meal from Applebees.
I’m “Proud To Be An American”