This Friday, Americans will once again mark Veterans Day, November 11, 2022, as a day to honor and remember all of our veterans, past and present. This day was originally commemorated as Armistice Day. There are fewer each year who can recall that holiday.
A few years after the end of World War I, Congress commemorated the armistice which ended the war on the Western Front on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. There was a call to celebrate peace and remember the veterans who fought bravely to defend our freedom. It was not until November 11, 1938, that Armistice Day was declared a national holiday.
World War I was called the war to end all wars, but sadly we know that it did not end all wars. Only one year after November 11th became a national holiday in the US, another war engulfed Europe which turned out to be bigger and more deadly than the first. Millions of brave Americans fought in World War II and the Korean War. On June 1, 1954, Congress changed the name of this holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day so it fittingly honors all our veterans.
Today we remember veterans of WWI, WWII and the Korean War and we add to that list the veterans of the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War. We are forever grateful for the freedom that is ours because of their bravery and their sacrifice.
In remarks at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day in 1961, President Kennedy said,
But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. "The purpose of all war," said Augustine, "is peace." …For our part, we shall achieve that peace only with patience and perseverance and courage--the patience and perseverance necessary to work with allies of diverse interests but common goals, the courage necessary over a long period of time to overcome an adversary skilled in the arts of harassment and obstruction. …In the end, the only way to maintain the peace is to be prepared in the final extreme to fight for our country--and to mean it.
Our veterans deserve nothing less than our respect with grateful hearts for the price they have paid for our freedom. Thank a veteran today!