This past weekend, I hope you were able to take a moment to thank the veteran in your life or attend a community event in one’s honor. As we celebrated the lives and sacrifices of our veterans this Veterans Day, I was reminded of the history behind this special holiday, one that is especially meaningful to me.

The origin of Veterans Day dates back to World War I, perhaps one of the most significant wars our armed forces have fought on our behalf. At the 11th hour of November 11, 1918, an armistice was called between the Allied forces, including the United States, and Germany. At that moment, fighting would cease and the war would soon come to an official end.

From that day forward, November 11th would be known as Armistice Day, although the Treaty of Versailles didn’t formally end World War I until it was signed on June 28th of 1919. Before the United States knew it, however, it was being pulled into involvement in the Second World War, and the country experienced its largest mobilization of military forces—16 million troops. Almost six million more would join during the Korean War.

It is this great effort that started the conversation to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation that would make Veterans Day a time to celebrate those who have served in all American wars. It was clear that the men and women who came out in droves to fight for their country deserved a day of recognition.

Veterans Day remains a respected and cherished holiday today, held annually through the generations of soldiers who have represented the American flag as a part of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. As our young brothers and sisters continue to answer the call of duty and enlist in the military every day, we must ensure that Veterans Day always holds a special place in our communities.

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