Today we celebrate and pay tribute to the men and women who sacrificed to keep America the Land of the Free. If you are a veteran, or the family member of a veteran, we extend to you our deepest gratitude for your sacrifice on our country’s behalf. But, do you know the history of Veterans Day?
The History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day is more than just an excuse for retailers to hold pre-holiday sales. It’s a day of somber reflection what some among us have given in defense of our country. We owe these men and women a debt of gratitude, and Veterans Day is designated as the day our nation acknowledges their hard work and sacrifice.
The seeds for Veterans Day were planted during World War I. The conflict had been raging for several years, and in 1918, an agreement was reached that fighting between the Allied forces and Germany would cease on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The Treaty of Versailles was signed seven months later in June 1919.
American troops celebrate the 1918 armistice. World War I was a particularly bloody and violent conflict, and the relief it was finally over was met with jubilation.
Later that year, President Wilson declared November 11th Armistice Day. He stated in a speech commemorating the occasion: “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…” (source: Veteran’s Administration Website)
Armistice Day was observed with parades and public meetings, and observing a moment of silence at 11:00 am on that day.
Interesting factoid: The United States did not officially recognize the end of World War I until 1926.
From Armistice Day to Veterans Day
Congress declared November 11th an official holiday in 1938. Armistice Day was originally set aside to honor the veterans of World War I, but after World War II saw the United States pull together the largest mobilization of forces in its history, veterans service organizations urged Congress to strike out the word ‘Armistice’ and expand the day to include the celebration of all our nation’s veterans who served during armed conflicts. The resolution was passed in 1954.
November 11th, 1954 marked the first official Veteran’s Day in the United States, honoring all American veterans for their service.
Thank a Veteran
United States citizens have much to be thankful for, due in no small part to those willing to give up everything to preserve our country’s freedoms and our rights. One of the most meaningful ways to thank a U.S. veteran is to hire one. To learn more about how to truly help veterans, go to Hire Heroes USA.
If you are a veteran, THANK YOU. If you are the family member of a veteran, we thank you, too. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Regional Events and Discounts
Many businesses offer discounts and deals for our nation’s veterans on Veterans Day, or on a regular basis throughout the year. Head to Military.com and find something near you. After all you’ve done for us, the least we can do is give you a free car wash or meal. The history of America is a story told truly through the history of Veterans Day. Thank you.