Veterans Day: What It Means

Every year on November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day.  The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year at Arlington National Cemetery at 11am.  According to The Department of Veterans Affairs, the ceremony begins with a wreath lying at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from various dignitaries.  The intention of the ceremony is to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Most people know about Veterans Day and that it is to recognize and show gratitude towards all the soldiers and other servicemen and women who fought and continue to fight for out country and our freedom.  Most people may not, however, know why it falls on November 11th or why the ceremony is held at 11am.

On November 11th, 1918, Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces by signing the Armistice, ending hostilities of World War I on the Western Front.  This day became known as Armistice Day the next year as proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson and it celebrated and remembered the veterans who fought and died in World War I.  In 1954, after World War II had ended, a proposal went to Congress that the day should celebrate and remember all veterans, not just the ones from World War I.  President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill to become a law on May 26, 1954.  It was shortly thereafter amended to change the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.  Ever since then, we have celebrated Veterans Day.  As for the ceremony, it is held at 11am for a reason as well.  Germany signed the Armistice at 11am on that November 11th in 1918...on "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

So while some may just view Veterans Day as a day off work or from school, the true meaning should never be forgotten.  Chances are, you know someone who has fought for our country.  Just take a moment out of your day on Friday for a brief moment of silence to honor and thank those who have put their own lives on the line to make sure the rest of our lives are safe.