Veteran’s Day – November 11 – is upon us, and it is appropriate at this time to wish all veterans a Happy Veteran’s Day. Unlike Memorial Day earlier in the year, which is set aside to specifically honor our military men and women who have died, Veteran’s Day is a day to celebrate all veterans, both living and dead.
Veteran’s Day began as Armistice Day ceremonies which took place at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, in England and France. This was the formal end to World War I, know as The Great War. Both of these countries, so deeply scarred by the war, buried in a place of honor the remains of an unidentified countryman – an Unknown Soldier – who had made the ultimate sacrifice. For England, this was Westminster Abbey in London, and for France, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was the chosen site.*
In 1921, the United States buried its own Unknown Soldier from World War I and established The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The tomb is guarded twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by Tomb Guard Sentinels. They are considered “the best of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), headquartered at Fort Meyer, Va.”**
In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name of Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day.***
This is the one time of the year we dedicate to honoring those who have pledged to protect our freedoms – freedoms many of us too often take for granted. So if you know someone who served, thank them for their service.
If you are reading this, and you are a veteran, yourself, thank you!
And Happy Veteran’s Day!