Veterans Day is first and foremost a day when Americans come together and honor all of the men and women who have served their country honorably in war or peace as members of the United States Armed Forces. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Veterans Day is first and foremost a day when Americans come together and honor all of the men and women who have served their country honorably in war or peace as members of the United States Armed Forces. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Initially called Armistice Day, the national holiday commemorates the official cessation of hostilities during World War I, or as it is also known, The War to End All Wars.

The war ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, which is why we celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

One year later, Woodrow Wilson issued a message to all Americans on that very first Armistice Day. He said:

“A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

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 nations.”

Some historical highlights of Veterans Day include:

•  On June 4, 1926, Congress adopted a resolution calling for the observance of Nov. 11 with appropriate ceremonies.

•  On May 13, 1938, a Congressional Act made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday celebrating Armistice Day.

•  In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks (later known as the father of Veterans Day) had the idea to expand the holiday to celebrate all veterans, not just those of World War I.

•  On May 26, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. Congress amended that bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and the day has been known as Veterans Day ever since.

•  In 1971, in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, due to public pressure, Veterans Day was moved back to its original celebration on November 11.

As a result of Veterans Day falling on a Sunday this year, the holiday will be observed on Monday, Nov. 12. Non-essential federal government offices will be closed, and no mail will be delivered on Monday. Banks will also be closed on Monday.

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