On November 11, 1918, the Axis and Allied troops signed an armistice (temporary suspension of hostilities) that began at 11 o’clock in the morning. This marked the beginning of the end of WWI. One year later, on November 11, 1919, the United States celebrated Armistice Day for the first time. This day sought to honor those men who had fought in the war. It was marked by parades, public meetings, and a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. Regarding the first observance of Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson said, “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.”
In 1938, November 11 was proclaimed an annual holiday, dedicated to remembering those who fought in WWI. Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day on June 1, 1954. Today, Veterans Day seeks to honor all military veterans, particularly those who are still living. It is a time to show appreciation to the men and women who have served in our country’s Armed Forces on both domestic and foreign shores.
Over 21 million American veterans from all wars are still living today. These selfless individuals have made many sacrifices to protect this great nation. Their sacrifices have allowed the United States to become the nation that it is. Their commitment has instilled a sense of safety, contentment, responsibility, determination, loyalty, and honor in Americans.
To the many men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice and service for the citizens of the United States of America. Thank you for defending the freedoms of this great nation. Thank you for laying down your lives so that American citizens may live in peace.