At the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, in the 11th month, the Armistice was signed. It was an agreement between the Allied Powers of World War I and Germany. This single document guaranteed a cessation of hostilities on Western Front of the war.
Armistice Day would be declared a national holiday and is now celebrated as Veteran’s Day in many Allied nations.
The first Armistice Day was held in 1919 at Buckingham Palace commencing with King George V hosting a ‘Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic.’ This event would set a decades long trend of a celebration on this day.
At the end of World War II the United Kingdom moved Armistice Day events to the Sunday following the 11th and officially began honoring veterans of both World Wars. They adopted the name ‘Remembrance Day.’
In this same time period, the United States chose to recognize this day as ‘All Veterans Day’ which was later shortened to ‘Veterans Day.’ This shift was meant to honor all military veterans, including those who participated in other conflicts.
Veterans Day in the United States is a little different than around the world. Rather than only remembering those perished, Veterans Day honors all those who have served.
The Armistice was officially signed November 11th, 1918. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution officially recognizing the end of World War I in 1926. That resolution also established an official recognition Armistice Day.
The resolution reads: Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
Veterans Day is, in a very literal sense, not just an American holiday. Rather, it is a moment when much of the industrialized world comes together to recognize those men and women we call heroes.
These individuals elected to spend their time serving their nation. They gave up the comforts of home and time with family. They elected to sign up for a grueling and demanding job that, often times, puts them in harms way.
It is easy to go about our daily lives not remembering that these men and women-not older than me-are carrying out a duty that we may not fully understand. It is easy to forget that our service men and women are always working to defend us.
It is easy to forget to right now a National Guard troop from Nebraska is serving in Puerto Rico to rebuild and restore. It is easy to forget that they are marching through the mountains of Afghanistan, suffering a sandstorm in Iraq, or growing infrastructure in a place that has never had any.
It is easy to forget that these men and women are holding the DMZ, patrolling the Pacific, or keeping the peace in Okinawa.
As I sit behind this computer screen typing a blog I full well count myself in this group.
It can be easy to forget that nearly half a million troops have died since World War I. It can be easy to forget that far more have come home wounded. And it can be easy to forget that not all of these wounds are visible.
So, I ask of you this: On November 11th — Don’t forget.
Attend a Veterans Day Ceremony, lower your flag to half-staff, and thank a veteran.
Participate in Veterans Day
A list of ceremonies happening in Nebraska: