Like many nations, the United States dedicates a Day every year to remember those who served in the nation’s armed forces, and to honor the sacrifice of those who perished in the service of their country.
For most of the nations who participated in the First World War, that day is November 11. On the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice, or end of hostilities, went into effect and fighting stopped. Although it was not the end of the First World War — it officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919 — many considered November 11 to be the end of the conflict.
In the United States, for two decades afterward, November 11 was unofficially celebrated as Armistice Day, an occasion to honor veterans of what was then called the Great War. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower expanded the holiday to honor all who have served in uniform, both in war and peace, and finally, in 1971, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, thus better reflecting the spirit of the celebration.
“Today, we honor generations of patriots who have earned the title of ‘American veteran’ — a badge of courage that unites the finest group of former service members the world has ever known,” said President Joe Biden.
“With their selfless sacrifice, our Armed Forces have forged and defended the very idea of America — a promise of freedom and equality, democracy and justice, possibility and hope. We owe them an incredible debt that can never be fully repaid,” he said.
“In every generation, America’s veterans have been willing to give all for that which we hold sacred — freedom, justice, and democracy. They have served selflessly, sacrificed greatly, and shouldered the burden of freedom quietly, asking no glory for themselves,” said President Biden.
“Today, let us honor them by living up to their example — putting service before self, caring for our neighbors, and working passionately to build a more perfect Union worthy of all those who protect our lives and liberty.”