Every year on November 11, our country observes Veterans Day. But do you know why that date was chosen? Keep reading to find out.
1. The history of Veterans Day is rooted in World War I (WWI), a war that involved 35 countries and lasted four years. The conflict ended when the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne. (An armistice is an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain period of time.)
2. The Armistice of Compiègne was signed at 11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. If you had lived during the time after WWI, the phrase “11:11:11” would have had great significance for you.
3. President Woodrow Wilson declared Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, as a day to honor all who served in WWI.
4. At 11 AM on November 11, 1921, an unidentified soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Since then, a solemn ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier each year on Veterans Day.
5. Two other allied nations, France and Great Britain, also buried unknown soldiers at 11 AM on November 11, 1921.
6. In 1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day to honor all the men and women who have served in our armed forces and not just WWI vets. If you visit Arlington National Cemetery, you will see that the tomb of the Unknown Soldier also recognizes unknown soldiers from World War II (WWII), Korea, and Vietnam.
Captain David A. Janecke, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), a 19-year veteran says, “Veterans Day is a time when everyone can reflect on the sacrifices that the military has made for all the freedoms we enjoy.” When asked how Americans can honor and appreciate veterans, he said that seeing the American flag displayed and waving proudly does his heart good.
He also suggested simply telling a veteran “Thank you for your service.” And if your family doesn’t personally know a soldier, this Write to a Soldier project is another wonderful way for your child to thank a member of our military.