November 11, 2013, is Veterans Day. Although both Memorial Day and Veterans Day honor veterans, Memorial Day is a day in which we honor those veterans who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. Veterans Day is a day to honor all veterans, living or deceased, who served this County. Veterans Day is for veterans of all five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. We celebrate Veterans Day with flags, memorials, parades, and acts of kindness for members of the military. We should honor and thank all veterans, as well as their families, for their passionate and dedicated service to our County by protecting us and the freedoms we cherish.
HISTORY OF VETERANS DAY
Veterans Day initially began as “Armistice Day,” which was the day that an armistice, a temporary cessation of fighting, went into effect between the Allied Forces and Germany. This armistice began on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. As World War I, known at the time as the “Great” War,” Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
A timeline of events from Armistice Day to Veterans Day as it currently exists:
November 1919: President Woodrow Wilson proclaims November 11 as “Armistice Day” in a speech:
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 …
November 11, 1921: An unidentified American soldier killed in World War I was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the Tomb of the Unknown Solider (also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns, in a dedication by President Warren G. Harding. The Tomb is inscribed, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” The Tomb itself has never been officially named.
June 4, 1926: Congress passes a resolution, which states, in part:
It is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date [November 11, 1918] should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and … that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
May 13, 1938: Armistice Day becomes a federal holiday.
June 1, 1954: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to include all United States veterans.
October 8, 1954: President Eisenhower issues the first Veterans Day proclamation.
May 30, 1958: Unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War are reburied next to the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
1971: The Uniform Monday Holiday Act goes into effect that changes the date of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October in order to give federal employees a three-day weekend.
1978: The federal observance of Veterans Day returns to November 11.
May 28, 1984: An unknown soldier from the Vietnam War is reburied in Arlington National Cemetery.
Click here for a graphical historical Timeline from this office: From Armistice Day to Veterans Day: A Timeline.
Every Veterans Day, at 11:00 a.m., in Arlington National Cemetery, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military services, renders honors to America’s war dead during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The President or his representative attends this ceremony and places a wreath at the Tomb while a bugler plays “Taps.”
According to data and estimates from the United States Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey, there are approximately 21,230,865 living veterans. They can be divided by gender and period of military service:
- By Gender:
- 19,617,634 male veterans
- 1,613,231 female veterans
- By Period of Military Service:
- Pre-World War II only: 20,810
- Between Korean War and World War II only: 121,095
- Between Vietnam Era and Korean War only: 2,207,628
- Between Gulf War and Vietnam Era only: 2,961,721
- World War II, no Korean War, no Vietnam Era: 1,435,550
- Korean War and World War II, no Vietnam Era: 113,269
- Korean War, no Vietnam Era, no World War II: 1,934,509
- Vietnam Era and Korean War and World War II: 50,004
- Vietnam Era and Korean War, no World War II: 209,183
- Vietnam Era, no Korean War, no World War II: 6,788,333
- Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001) and Vietnam Era: 307,376
- Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), no Vietnam Era: 2,332,509
- Gulf War (9/2001 or later), and Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), and Vietnam Era: 54,117
- Gulf War (9/2001 or later) and Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), no Vietnam Era: 933,315
- Gulf War (9/2001 or later), no Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), no Vietnam Era: 1,761,446
VETERANS DAY QUOTES
Below are some quotes about veterans, Veterans Day, freedom and why we should honor and recognize our veterans:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of 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.” – Woodrow Wilson
“In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
“We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.” – Ronald Reagan
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” – Abraham Lincoln
“America’s veterans embody the ideals upon which America was founded more than 229 years ago.” – Steve Buyer
“Those who cannot bravely face danger are the slaves of their attackers.” – Aristotle
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis
“Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot.” – Gary Hart
“On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.” - Dan Lipinski
“My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place – police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces.” - Sidney Sheldon
“Our veterans accepted the responsibility to defend America and uphold our values when duty called.” – Bill Shuster
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” - Joseph Campbell
“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou
“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” – Patrick Henry
“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death!” – Sun Tzu
You can also view these quotes on this image: Veteran and Veteran Day Quotations.
ADVICE FROM A VETERAN
Many people do not know how to speak to a veteran. A November 8, 2012, “Dear Abby” column “Amanda C., U.S. Army Disabled Veteran” offered the following advice from a veteran to non-veterans:
As Veterans Day approaches, may I share a few guidelines that can be helpful when interacting with veterans or service members?
- It is never OK to ask a veteran if he or she has killed someone or to joke about it. If we have, we can’t even talk about it with our spouses, much less a stranger.
- When you thank us for our service or pay for our meal, it is really appreciated. We also appreciate packages and notes.
- Please don’t tell us that wars are a waste of dollars or lives or were fought for oil. What we hear is that, in your opinion, our best friend died for nothing. We know many people disagree with war, but it’s better to keep your opinions to yourself.
- Many of us now have PTSD. If you see us acting anxious or moving away from crowds, turning our backs to the wall or fidgeting, simple kindness or a little distraction will be appreciated. Talk to us about something interesting and give us some breathing room.
- Please remember that 15 percent of those who serve in the military are women, and some have been in combat. It’s better to ask, “Are you a veteran?” rather than, “Was your husband a soldier?”
- As with any person who has a disability, please do not stare at us. We can be sensitive about our scars or injuries and would prefer not to be asked to relive a difficult experience by being quizzed about what happened. Please also understand that war injuries today are very different than in the past and are often not visible. It is not OK to tell someone they “don’t look disabled” or appear to need help.
Those of us with disabilities appreciate light conversation and assistance if we look like we are in need.
It was my pleasure to serve our country.
It is hard to improve on this.
- United States Army Center of Military History: The History of Veterans Day
- United States Census Bureau: 2012 American Community Survey: PERIOD OF MILITARY SERVICE FOR CIVILIAN VETERANS 18 YEARS AND OVER
- United States Census Bureau: 2012 American Community Survey: SEX BY AGE BY VETERAN STATUS FOR THE CIVILIAN POPULATION 18 YEARS AND OVER
- United States Census Bureau: 2012 American Community Survey: VETERAN STATUS
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs: History of Veterans Day
- Yahoo! News: Abigail Van Buren – November 8, 2012: Veterans Appreciate Grateful Acknowledgment Of Service
Veterans Day is a day to honor all veterans who have served this County. We owe our freedom and the freedoms we cherish to all veterans, living and deceased. So, on this Veterans Day 2013, do something for our veterans, whether it be flying a flag, going to a memorial, parade or service, or just saying thank you.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs asks that you join them in sending this message:
This Veterans Day, and every day, my thoughts, thanks and gratitude are with our nation’s Veterans. #HonoringVets
We hope you will join us in spreading this message. In addition, we urge you to thank and honor all veterans and their families for their passionate and dedicated service to our Country.