Tuesday, November 11, 2008

History of Veteran's Day

I'm always amazed on holidays how many people really have no clue the significance behind them. This morning I logged into facebook to see a friends message saying something to the effect of
"I don't understand why our government feels the need to celebrate."
The line smacked of pretentious college students who don't understand the historical significance of Veteran's day and somehow feel that because of things going on in this country, we (the USA) shouldn't celebrate a holiday. So for all those out there who don't know the history behind Veteran's Day let me explain it to you.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th to be Armistice day. Nov. 11th was chosen because that was the day in 1918 when the Allies and the German signed an Armistice ending the fighting of WWI. The official treaty ending the war would be signed some months later. The holiday was enacted to honor the soldiers who had given up their lives to fight in the First World War. In 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veteran's day in an effort to "honor the sacrifice of American veterans from all wars.”

The USA isn't the only one to celebrate this holiday, although other countries call it by different names. In Britain and it's former commonwealths (Canada, Australia, etc) it is called Remembrance Day. In France it is still referred to as Armistice Day. Poland celebrates Independence Day on Nov. 11th because the Allies had instructed a Polish General to restore the country on this day (from 1795-1918 Poland as a country didn't exist, it had been incorporated by Austria, Russia and Germany).

So for all of those who don't understand why we celebrate Veteran's day or why it so important for the government to honor fallen soldiers on this day, now you have no excuse.
All of these stories are mine except the ones that aren't. Pictures are property of their creators. Powered by Blogger.