Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring Veterans

Americans today celebrate Veterans Day to honor the men and women who served in the military today and in the past. Originally this observance marked another occasion, Armistice Day, where the United States and other nations stopped to acknowledge the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. President Woodrow Wilson, who ordered the observance of Armistice Day, hoped it would be a celebration of world peace, a celebration of WWI being the first and final World War.

But a shoe store owner in Kansas in the 1950s felt that Armistice Day was limited. Alfred King campaigned Congress to expand Armistice Day in the United States and honor all military veterans, not just those who served in the first World War. In 1954, Congress with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower turned Armistice Day into today's Veterans Day.

While the National Mall has many striking structures to pay daily tribute to the sacrifices and service of those who serve in uniform, Veterans Day reminds us to thank family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors for their role in protecting our borders and freedoms. Although they often stand watch alone, Veterans Day reminds veterans and our nation that we are standing with them as well.

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