Veterans Day a Long Time in the Making

Posted on November 11, 2014 by

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“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” -José Narosky.

On 11 November, on the 11th hour in 1918, World War One ended. This was called Armistice Day. Unknown soldiers were buried on this day in 1921 all over the world, from Arlington National Cemetery in D.C to  Westminster Abbey in England and Arc de Triomphe in France. All of these ceremonies took place on November 11th to commemorate the end of the “war to end all wars.”

Congress eventually realized how much this meant to everybody. In 1926, they officially dubbed 11 November Armistice Day. Twelve years later, it became a national holiday, but then World War Two broke out.

Raymond Weeks, a vet of WWII, organized a National Veterans Day with a parade and festivities to honor all vets. He chose to hold this day on Armistice Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Congress signed a bill proclaiming 11 November as Veterans Day. This happened fourteen years after WWII ended.

Congress decided to change the date to the fourth Monday in October back in 1968, but ten years later they changed it back to 11 November.

Weeks received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Regan in 1982.

On Memorial Day, 1958, two unidentified soldiers were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. One served in WWII and the other  in the Korean War. Those bodies are still there today in the tomb.

These soldiers are a symbol of all soldiers who lost their lives in wars. To honor these two bodies, an Army honor guard keeps watch day and night. This is a place where tourists watch the changing of the guard.

“It’s a really moving ceremony. Everyone has to be quiet, and no one can cross the line. I loved it,” Sean Gisler said.

Every Veterans Day at 11:00 a.m. on 11 November, a color guard representing all military services presents arms. The wreath of the president is laid on the tomb, then a bugler plays taps.

There are about 22 million vets living in the US today.

President Eisenhower once said, “It is well for us to pause, to acknowledge our debt to those who paid so large a share of freedom’s price. As we stand here in grateful remembrance of the veterans’ contributions, we renew our conviction of individual responsibility to live in ways that support the eternal truths upon which our Nation is founded, and from which flows all its strength and all its greatness.”

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