In November, 1919, President Truman stated: “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…” This was to honor the end of World War I in 1919, and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (signed on June 28, 1919) and the end of the war which had gone into effect six months earlier 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.”
This marked the beginning of Veterans Day. One of the observations of this day was the suspension of work at businesses for a moment of time: 11:00 AM. Over the years, the country began to celebrate national holidays on Friday or Monday to give workers a three-day weekend. Many observers of Veterans (Armistice) Day continued to celebrate on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it fell. Veterans Day was, therefore, restored to its significant date of November 11 and to this day is regarded as a celebration to honor America’s veterans.
I have had ancestors serve in most of the American wars from the Revolutionary War to the Korean War. Many of my friends served in the Vietnam War…and today friends and relatives near my children’s ages continue to serve. I am a lover of history….and the lives of these great men are incredible. I’ve been told a few stories of hardships as well of victory that will remain with me always.
Do you ever see those soldiers standing near the mall, or standing in lines at the clinics to get their physicals…? Be sure to give them a smile, or stop and say thank you. These are the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our country free.
In Honor of my Daddy, whose olive-green jacket I still treasure,