Veterans Day

November 11 is Veterans Day in the United States and honors all those who have served, and are currently serving in the U.S. military.

November 11 was first observed as Armistice Day in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. It marked the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day an official holiday. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed November 11 to Veterans Day in order to also honor the 16 million American who fought in World War II.

In his first Veterans Day proclamation, President Eisenhower said:

“Let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

Americans observe Veterans Day all over the country. In Virginia, The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony starts at exactly 11:00 a.m. when a wreath is laid at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and then continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony pays honor and gratitude to all who served, and continue to serve, in the United States Armed Forces.

In 1958, two unidentified American soldiers, one from World War II and one from the Korean War, were buried in the cemetery alongside the Unknown Soldier from World War I. They are symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars.

So this Veterans’ Day, and every day, let’s make sure all our veterans know how much we appreciate them. If you see a veteran, go on up and shake their hand. Look them in the eye. Say those words that every veteran deserves to hear: “Welcome home. Thank you. We need you more than ever to help us stay strong and free.”’ President Obama, November 8 2014.