Thank you Veterans! Honoring All Those Who Served
World War I ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 in the Palace of Versailles. However, fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Because of this, November 11, 1918 is generally regarded as the end of World War I.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:
“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.”
An Act approved on May 13, 1938 made the 11th of November a legal holiday – a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” The original intention for the holiday was for a day observed with parades, public meetings, and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Armistice Day was a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of defense personnel in the Nation’s history, and after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by replacing the word “Armistice” with “Veterans.”
With the approval of this legislation, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to sacrifice for the common good.