Veterans Day: Why the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month?

November 10, 2020

veterans mohawk valleyHappy Veterans Day, Mohawk Valley!! Today we celebrate military Veterans “…for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

Veterans Day was born of World War I. This was the horrific conflict in Europe that began in 1914. On one side were the Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. On the other the Allied Powers: Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan, and the United States.

At its end over 16 million people were dead, including both soldiers and civilians. This is why it was known at the time as “The Great War.” The carnage was so bad that the hope at the time was that it would be the, “War to End All Wars.”

As it turned out, that didn’t happen. But it was the beginning of the day to honor our soldiers known as Veterans Day. And the reason it’s celebrated on the day that it is. The official end of the war was the Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28, 1919. But before that fighting had ceased with an armistice.

This temporary cessation of hostilities started exactly on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. That is, 11:00 AM on 11.11.1918. That’s the origin of Veterans Day on November 11 every year.

Starting in November of 1919 it was celebrated as Armistice Day. For years it was a day to be celebrated with parades and public meetings. And a brief suspension of business at 11:00 AM.

In 1938 Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday. It was dedicated to the veterans of World War I and world peace. But then came World War II and Korea. Veteran’s organizations urged Congress to amend the holiday by changing it from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

So on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

By the way, this is one of a few holidays that aren’t subject to the Uniform Holiday Bill. This is where national holidays are celebrated on Mondays. That’s how significant 11:00 AM, November 11, 1918 is to the honor of America’s veterans.

Today we honor all the veterans who have helped keep our country safe. Hopefully, they are remembered throughout the year. But on this special day, we encourage everyone to recognize their courage, selflessness, and sacrifice.

Until next time,
Your SZW Team

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