Veteran’s Day is a federal holiday established in 1954 to recognize men and women who honorably served in the U. S. Armed Forces. It originally began as Armistice Day, in 1938, as a celebration of the end of the First World War, which became an officially recognized day of remembering those who died in that terrible war. Since the end of World War I, of course, there have been other conflicts demanding the participation of the United States and its people — through conscription and domestic sacrifices. These additional conflicts included World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the First Gulf War, and the War on Terror.
In four of those wars, the federal government compelled qualified men to serve in the armed forces in times of war or national emergency. In 1968, however, Republican President Richard Nixon called for the end of involuntary military service, opting for an All-Volunteer Force.
While many (perhaps, even most) servicemen were compelled to serve in two world wars, and in Korea and Vietnam, today’s young Americans serve in the U. S. Armed Forces because they want to. So, today we celebrate Veterans Day, remembering with deep admiration and respect those men and women of the United States who volunteered to serve their country in the armed services, whether the nation was at war or peace. And we continue to remember Armistice Day to honor the memory of those young men who gave up their lives in defense of freedom in World War I. We do this by pausing for two minutes of silence beginning at 2:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy admonished us by saying, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” A veteran might remind you that if you can read, you should thank your teacher. But if you can read whatever you choose, you should thank a military veteran.
To all our military veterans, Thank You.
Happy Veterans Day!