November 11th is Veterans Day. From defense.gov and va.gov we can learn some important historical facts about this day.
Originally Veterans Day was called Armistice Day and marked the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when hostilities in World War I ceased. In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement that asked Americans to use the day to reflect “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 nations.”
“Armistice Day” became “Veterans Day” in 1954, in recognition of the heroic contributions of veterans in World War II and the Korean War. Since then, Veterans Day has recognized and celebrated all veterans who served their country. Meanwhile, active-duty military are recognized on Armed Forces Day, and those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms are remembered on Memorial Day.
Names change over time, but the gratitude we hold in our hearts for those who served is timeless and eternal. Let all of us pause on this day and remember that the freedoms and way of life we hold dear were bought with American courage, American daring, and American blood. Thank you, veterans.
And if you see a veteran, you know what to do: give honor, because honor is due.
Patrick J. Wood