From the Revolutionary War to the battles fought today, veterans are one the nation’s most sacred symbols of freedom. For one day each year, the country bands together to stand united in thanking those in the U.S. Armed Forces for their sacrifices and courage. These brave men and women dedicated their lives to something bigger than themselves so their fellow citizens can continue enjoying the rights and liberties awarded to them in the Constitution.
Veterans Day History
Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day is an official public holiday annually observed on November 11 to honor all military veterans. This date marks the anniversary of the formal ending of major hostilities on the Western Front during World War I in 1918, which is when the Armistice of Compiègne with Germany went into effect. An armistice is a formal agreement between warring parties to cease hostile activities.
In late September 1918, the German Supreme Army Command informed Kaiser Wilhelm II and Count Georg von Hertling, the Imperial Chancellor, that the situation that the German military faced was hopeless. Erich Ludendorff, the quartmaster general, encouraged the Kaiser to accept President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points,” a statement of principles regarding world peace, and consider armistice. Soon, the nations began negotiating the terms of a truce, which was not a simple process. Between uneasy relationships within the German government and military, the sailor’s revolt, naval blockades and negotiating seemingly unrealistic demands, the Germans quickly realized that they were not in a position to refuse a peaceful resolution.
The Germans finally agreed to an armistice at 5:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918. The treaty went into effect at 11:00 a.m.—the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. In 1919, President Wilson declared that Armistice Day would be every November 11.
In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge called for the formal observance of November 11 as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.” In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks sought to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, promoting a National Veterans Day. President Dwight Eisenhower felt the same way and signed a bill into law in 1954 that replaced the word “Armistice” with “Veterans” for the November 11 national holiday. Because the U.S. Marine Corps’ anniversary is November 10, the Armed Forces observes both occasions as part of a 96-hour “liberty period.”
Facts about U.S. Veterans
- 2 million: The number of veterans in the U.S.
- 2 million: The number of veterans who are over 65
- 9 million: The number of veterans who are under 35
- 8 million: The number of veterans who are women
- 5: The number of states with more than 1 million veterans in their population, including California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
Veterans are America’s national treasures. They exemplify courage and their sacrifices are the true reasons that U.S. citizens have the privilege of saying that they live free. These brave men and women willingly faced the unthinkable so that their fellow Americans never have to imagine what it’s like to have their basic civil liberties stripped away. They not only fought on the front lines, but also on the home front to keep America strong. Because of this, Solairus humbly thanks the men and women in our Armed Forces for their selfless hardships, sacrifices and service. They are the reason that America is great.