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 nation.
Wilson selected November 11 because the Armistice ending World War I had been signed on this date in 1918. Wilson wanted to make sure that Americans did not forget the tragedies of the war. In 1938, Congress passed legislation which designated Armistice Day as a federal holiday. The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 so that all veterans would be honored.
On Veterans Day, special services take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.
I am a baby boomer. I was born in peace time and enjoyed an uneventful childhood and adolescence. Then there was war. Many young men and women of my generation joined the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines … then they flew or sailed out of my life … forever. Yet, some returned, weary and battle scarred to a country that did not appreciate their sacrifice.
Today, November 11, 2009, we should remember them. To all veterans of all conflicts, whether alive and well, disabled, lying in Arlington National Cemetery or the Fields of Flanders or inscribed in the Wall in Washington :