The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I, when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

  • “Whereas November 11, 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
  • Whereas the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations; and
  • Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 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.”

Veterans Day Is Not the Same as Memorial Day

Many Americans get this confused, and we’ll be honest — it can be a little annoying to all of the living veterans out there.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country. Veterans Day honors all those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s primarily intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.


Initially Called Armistice Day, It Commemorated the End of WWI

World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended about seven months before that when the Entente and Germany put into effect an armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

For that reason, November 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

But then World War II and the Korean War happened. So on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration yet again by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans,” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars.


Other Countries Celebrate It in Their Own Ways

Winning World War I was a multinational effort, so it makes sense that our allies also wanted to celebrate their veterans on November 11. The name of the day and the types of commemorations differ, however.

Canada and Australia both call November 11, “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is pretty similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more akin to our Memorial Day.

Great Britain also calls it “Remembrance Day,” but observes it on the Sunday closest to November 11. It features parades, services, and two minutes of silence in London to honor those who lost their lives in war.

American soldiers carrying flags in stadium

For most veterans, such as myself, it’s a special day where we can display our flag to honor those that served before us. You can go to Fayetteville — the home of Fort Bragg — and see every restaurant packed with one-hour wait times; everyone wants those free appetizers. But the point of the matter is simple: it’s a national holiday to honor those who have served their country.

People join the Armed Forces for a variety of reasons: Some people sign up for the paycheck, some people sign up for the uniforms, some people sign up for the family tradition, some people for the dream. But nobody knows till after they go through the wash what it really means to be a part of that massive machine.

And the more time we spend in service, the sadder the play, and the more desperate the hope that somewhere far, far away, all of the bullshit is making sense and paying off for somebody. My own personal battle cry was that I was doing it for my children’s future. That somehow, my small part of this massive machine, would help ensure a better future for them. One can only pray, I guess.

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Former VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, had the following to say about the day:

“Giving Veterans 20 percent off is one small way to recognize those who risked all to serve this nation and defend liberty and justice around the world, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is grateful that so many companies help us celebrate our Veterans each year in this way. But there are other ways to say “thank you” to those who took the oath, and I encourage everyone to use Veterans Day as a chance to learn more about the 41 million men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States.”

President Trump, paying homage to veterans, said in 2019: “To every veteran here with us, to the thousands preparing to march on 5th Avenue — it’ll be really something — and to the 18 million veterans across our country: The First Lady and I have come to express the everlasting love and loyalty of 327 million Americans.”

Many of us struggle with a response to “Thank you for your service.” Over many years I have refined my response to a simple, “Thank you for your support.” It’s simple, short, and to the point. Many Vietnam veterans did not come home to a welcoming country. These days, in my experience, it has been quite opposite. While 49 percent of voting Americans may not care for the current administration, one thing remains true, we love our troops, yes even the Marines, and will sharply defend them.

For a good list of Veterans Day discounts, click here.

Thank you for your service Brothers and Sisters,

John Black

De Oppresso Liber


This article was originally published in November 2020.