Friday, November 11, 2011

In Honor of Our Veterans on Veterans Day

Signing of the Armistice
Today is Veterans Day in the United States.  It is an annual holiday we set aside to honor those who have served in our armed forces.  It originally began as Armistice Day on November 11, 1918 at 11 A.M. when the end of World War One was declared and the German and Allies signed the Armistice agreement in Compeigne, France. 

President Woodrow Wilson
One year later, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day a holiday.  Wilson said, “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.”

President Calvin Coolidge
Then in 1926, President Calvin Coolidge issued another declaration for November 11 to be held as an observance of Veterans Day in the U.S.  Twelve years later, in 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday.  
Korean War Veterans Statues
It was 1953 when shoe repair storeowner Stephan Riod suggested that Armistice Day be expanded to include all living veterans who had fought in a war for this country.  U.S. Representative John Salper sponsored the bill in Congress, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.  Veterans Day would officially be celebrated on November 11 each year.

Eagles of War
President Gerald Ford
Then in 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, calling for all federal holidays to fall on a Monday.  This lasted until 1978 when President Ford moved Veterans Day back to November 11, regardless of what day of the week it falls on.

The Buddy Poppy is a familiar sight on Veterans Day.  Started in 1922, the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) became the first veteran’s organization to sell the poppies on street corners nationally.  Disabled and needy veterans still assemble the poppies. They are then sold by other veterans to provide financial assistance for disabled veterans and their families, along with the orphans, widows and widowers of U.S. vets.  Almost 90 years later and this tradition continues.

Tomb of the Unknowns 
Ceremonies and parades are held round the country each Veterans Day at national, regional and small town cemeteries around America.
One of the most famous is held at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.  At 11 A.M., a wreath is placed at the Tomb of the Unknowns, also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, by the U.S. Army.  This is one of only three events held each year at Arlington that is open to the public.

 Today, Veterans Day is a national celebration in America, held each November 11th to honor living veterans and thank them for their service to our country. 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
President Eisenhower expressed his wishes for this day 55 years ago, “I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day. It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day”

Freedom has a price

A Poppy, in tribute to all the brave veterans
who risked their lives
past and present,
so we might have a future.
 So to all the vets out there – Thank You for your dedication, unselfishness, and the sacrifices made in the line of duty serving our country!  We appreciate you!!
~ Joy


  1. I remember my parents (both vets) bringing home some of those poppies from time to time in my early childhood, but I myself have never seen anyone trying to sell them. Are they still being sold on street corners?


  2. Kristy,
    I have a friend who is a Viet Nam vet. He goes out every year and sets up a small table with paper poppies in front of a large retail store here. He said he loves doing it - not only to remember and honor those veterans, but to meet and reminisce with other veterans, and to help educate the youth.