At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the hostilities of WWI came to an end. Although the war didn’t officially end for another 7 months, countries around the globe commemorate the armistice on Remembrance Day.
This special day is acknowledged throughout Great Britain, Canada, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It’s also observed by other countries who fought alongside the British Empire during WWI, like Kenya, Bermuda, Barbados, and Mauritius.
On November 11, 1919, President Wilson called for the United States to recognize the first Armistice day:
“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.”
In the summer of 1926, the United States Congress passed a resolution officially recognizing Armistice Day with the following resolution:
Whereas the 11th of November 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 it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will 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.
In 1954, after suffering through WWII (the largest deployment America had ever seen) and the Korean War, veterans’ organizations appealed to the 86th Congress to modify Armistice Day to honor the American veterans of all wars. Congress responded by changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
Whether or not you live in a country that observes Remembrance Day or Veterans Day, take a few moments today to thank someone who has served your country and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.