First and foremost, we want to wish all of the veterans out there a happy Veterans Day! We appreciate your service and thank you for it. We are forever grateful for all that you have done, all that you currently do, and for the service you will perform in the future. May the Lord’s blessings be upon you and a grateful nation’s strength be behind you.
Since veteran’s are such a critical part of our culture, our country and even our company (most all of us at Sniper Central served in the military), we wanted to spend a little time reviewing the history of this holiday and why we recognize it.
World War I was known as “The Great War”, or the “War to end all Wars” and it officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. But the actual hostilities ended with the armistice that went into effect on November 11, 1918. Specifically it went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, or 11:00 of 11/11/1918 and this is generally regarded as the end of World War I.
In 1919 President Woodrow 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 with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original idea behind the celebration was that at 11:00 AM on November 11 businesses would suspend business for a brief time in observance of Armistice day and that there should be parades and public meetings to celebrate. On June 4, 1926 the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I with a concurrent resolution that recognized that in an effort to promote peace between nations that the flag should be displayed at all government buildings on November 11 of each year and that appropriate celebrations should be performed at schools, churches and other appropriate locations.
On May 13, 1938 congress further passed an Act making November 11 of each year a legal holiday nationwide, though most states already recognized it as such. The purpose was still to be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace and that it should be celebrated as Armistice Day and should honor veterans of World War I. Of course, it was only a few short years later that World War II broke out, which involved the greatest involvement of men in our Nation’s history. Then only a few years after World Ward II ended, we found ourselves in the Korean War. Up to this point the holiday was still known as Armistice Day and it was to honor veterans of World War I. Finally in 1954, Congress, at the urging of Veteran’s across the country, amended the Act of 1938 to change the name to ‘Veterans Day’ and to make it a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later in 1954 President Eisenhower issued the Veterans Day Proclamation setting up a Veterans Day National Committee to help celebrate Veterans Day as a nation. In 1958, the White House further advised the Veterans Affair’s General Counsel that the appointment of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all future VA Administrators. In 1989 the VA became a cabinet level department and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman since.
In 1968 Veterans day became one of the four “floating” holidays that would change days in order to make them become three day weekends. Many of the states did not like this idea and kept the original dates. The first Veterans Day that was observed under this new law ended up being on October 25, 1971 which upset many people and Veterans because it went away from the original significance of it being on Armistice Day. In 1975 President Ford signed into law a new law that returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to November 11 starting in 1978. This is still how it is recognized today and by having it on November 11 it helps preserve the historical significance of this date and helps to focus the attention on the purpose of Veterans Day.
We would like join in the celebration this year to honor America’s veterans for their love of country and willingness to sacrifice for the common good!