“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” -Arthur Ashe
Today, November 11, 2019, is Veterans Day, a legal U.S. holiday that honors men and women who have served in the military.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, in commemoration of the World War I armistice between Germany, America and America’s allies.
An armistice is an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a specific period of time. World War I, which began July 28, 1914, ended on November 11, 1918 when the armistice was signed.
A year later, on November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson expressed his thoughts about Armistice Day in a special message to the American people:
“…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 nations…”
In 1926, the U.S. Congress passed legislation calling for the observance of Armistice Day with appropriate ceremonies.
November 11th became a legal holiday in 1938. The day was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.
Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 to acknowledge living and deceased veterans from all wars.
Veterans Day celebrations around the country include parades, film festivals and special events. A Veterans Day national ceremony is held at the Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony begins with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument dedicated to deceased U.S. service members whose remains have not been identified.
On this day, with tremendous respect and gratitude, we thank the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service.