Our nation honors veterans of the United States military throughout the year, but especially on Veterans Day. To be willing to sacrifice one’s own life for the benefit of others makes our veterans heroes. Though there were several wars preceding World War I (WWI), the actual Veterans Day began as Armistice Day marking the end of World War I.
This first Armistice Day was in 1919. President Wilson spoke these words in commemoration:
“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…”
Veterans of the United States military
The name of the holiday remained Armistice Day until 1954 when Congress realized veterans should be recognized from all conflicts, not just WWI.
While Armistice Day commemorated those who died, we now reflect on those who serve as well as those who died in their service. Throughout the country, there are often parades, flags placed on graves and the wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery. There are also discount sales for veterans and free meals at some restaurants. All of this is to show respect and thanks to veterans of the United States military who protect our country and often other countries as well.
Veterans Day 2020
Because the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Veterans Day remains celebrated on November 11th of each year. In 2020, that day is a Wednesday in the midst of a pandemic, so there may be fewer public events, and fewer handshakes. If you see a woman or man displaying a cap or other military insignia that shows their service, thank them for their service. It is the least we can do for our brave fellow citizens. For those who want to do more, a list was compiled of other ways to honor our veterans. To make it more special, pick one or two of the activities on the list and resolve to do them at a time when it’s NOT Veterans Day.
To all of our veterans, we salute you – today and every day.