Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Veterans Day - Honoring Those Who Served

Monday, November 11th marks Veterans Day, a federal holiday to commemorate and honor all those who have served in the US military. The holiday coincides with Armistice Day, which is celebrated in other parts of the world to honor the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, ending hostilities at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

The following year, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day, saying: “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 victor, 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.” A Congressional Act by President Calvin Coolidge in May 1938 proclaimed November 11th a legal holiday, known as Armistice Day.

However, it wasn’t until 1945 that a WWII veteran in Birmingham, Alabama proposed the idea that Armistice Day expand to commemorate all veterans, and with Dwight Eisenhower’s support, led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama. Due to the success and popular approval, Congress amended Armistice Day to be replaced with “Veterans.”

Typically in the US, Veterans Day is honored by federal government offices being closed, and many fast food and other chain restaurants offer free meals for veterans. (You can find a list of some of these discounts here.) Take a moment this Veterans Day to thank a military member for all that they do to protect this country.

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