The contributions of men and women who’ve worn the uniform of our military are immeasurable, thus it’s only fitting that we pause today to express gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, recognizing the peace agreement between the Allied nations and Germany to end World War I. This armistice took effect at 11:00 a.m. on 11/11/1918 and was signed June 28, 1919 in France.
President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first Armistice Day on 11/11/1919 by asking Americans to briefly suspend business activities beginning at 11:00 a.m. The intent was to reflect on the heroism of those who died in service to their country during the Great War.
The celebration was eventually expanded to thank anyone who served in the military. Because of this, President and former Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower signed a 1954 bill to officially establish Nov. 11 as Veterans Day. The proclamation stated in part, “let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores to preserve our heritage of freedom.”
It’s been a tough year. A day after the U.S. Marine Corps’ 246th birthday, why not take a moment to recognize those who answered our nation’s call? Let’s celebrate their patriotism and willingness to sacrifice. Let’s reflect on the importance of what servicemembers do to safeguard our way of life. And last of all, let’s rededicate ourselves to protecting the unparalleled freedom and liberty we thankfully enjoy in the U.S.A. While we should remember these men and women each day, Nov. 11 provides a special opportunity to truly reflect on their heroism and honor what they’ve done and still do.
Few titles are more prized or noble than that of veteran of the United States. The sacrifice of these exceptional men and women has ensured our nation’s strength, security, and success from one generation to the next. Our veterans deserve our unending gratitude and reverence.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) November 11, 2021
I asked my cousin in Ohio, a former U.S. Army Captain, to reflect on the day and his service:
“Over the last several years, it’s wonderful to see our divided nation come together on Veterans Day, with an appreciation for those who served. That really feels genuine,” he said. “I am reminded every day of the sacrifices our veterans make through memories I experienced in Afghanistan. I fly a flag at my house year-round in honor of this great nation that many veterans gave their lives to defend. The men and women who sacrifice to keep the rest of us safe went through hardships; some delayed careers or families, while others paid the ultimate price. Whatever their reasons, veterans took an oath to protect our country and served honorably to fulfill that oath.”
As someone who worked several years to honor veterans — in a building constructed to recognize World War I’s cessation — I surely will thank them today.
(Photos courtesy of A.J. Kaufman)