Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day

Today marks the 92nd anniversary of Armistice Day formerly known to many as Veterans Day.  The origins date back to November 11, 1918 when the Allies and Germany signed a temporary peace treaty at Compiegne, France during World War I (the final  peace treaty was signed in 1919 at Versailles).  It took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month but some pockets of hostility persisted in parts of Russia and the Ottoman Empire. 

On November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed, "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." All businesses that day were required to close and observe two minutes of silence.  

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, several States made Armistice Day a legal holiday.  On May 13, 1938, Congress passed legislation declaring the day as a federal holiday.  After World War II and the Korean Conflict, President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation on June 4, 1954 that formally changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor those vets from the recent wars. 

Unfortunately, many citizens often times forget about this day, except when they check their mailboxes and find no mail.  However, for our living veterans, they make an effort to remember this holiday by hosting various parades throughout the nation's cities, including here in Milwaukee that held its parade on November 6.  So, what makes this day different from Memorial Day? On that day, we remember those veterans who were killed in the defense of the country but today, we give thanks to both the living and deceased vets.  Finally, let us take the time, today, to thank our Veterans for their brave services in defense of our freedoms.  


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