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Veterans Day: Honor Their Service

ARLINGTON, VA – NOVEMBER 11: Cpl. Dimitry Nussberg (C), a Marine who served in Iraq, salutes with John Horan (L), a Navy veteran who served in WWII, and David Millan (R), and Air Force veteran who served in WWII, during a Veterans Day event at Arlington National Cemetery November 11, 2007 in Arlington, Virginia. Veterans Day is the anniversary of the Armistice which formally ended World War I and is now celebrated in the United States to honor all veterans for there service. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Fighting in World War I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the Armistice with Germany was signed. As history shows, Germany was down but not out. We would battle them again some twenty years later. But the ending of that war laid the foundation for the Veterans Day we celebrate today.

Veterans Day History

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. During his speech he 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.”

Seven years later Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926 requesting that then President Calvin Coolidge to make November 11 a legal holiday to be dedicate to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated as Armistice Day. The act was approved on May 13, 1938.

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

A WWII vet from Birmingham, Alabama named Raymond Weeks thought Armistice Day should be a day to celebrate the service of all veterans. He presented the idea to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower who supported the idea. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and every year thereafter until his death in 1985.

Representative Ed Rees from Kansas introduced a bill in congress for the holiday and then President Dwight Eisenhower signed it on May 26, 1954. On June 4th a few days later the bill was amended to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day and it’s been observed that way ever since. In 1982, President Reagan awarded Weeks the Presidential Citizenship Medal

Veterans Day And Technology

Veterans Day has gone high-tech. There are many programs online for those that wish to help and honor our veterans. Here are a few:

  • There’s a database to pull information up on those killed. The World War Two Memorial App is on iTunes & Google Play.
  • You can  visit the “Honor Wall” dedicated to veterans of all wars and search names and units.
  • For discounts, sales and free stuff for vets and their families go to militarybenefits.info.

Some Final Thoughts

Arlington National Cemetery if probably the most famous of all military cemeteries and will be 150 years old next year. Next May Google will release their photos of the cemetery and you’ll be able to zoom in, read grave markers and see a 360-degree view of the cemetery.

Today is a day to honor all our veterans not just those who have made the supreme sacrifice. Today we have an all-volunteer military. These men and women have chosen to put themselves in harms way with out regard to their personal safety and future. Such dedication should be rewarded with a verbal “Thank You” whenever you see a person in uniform.

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