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On the origins of Veterans Day
November 5, 2011
By Maisie Rodenbaugh
Armistice Day commemorates the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany in Compiegne, France, ending World War I on the Western front. It was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
The headlines in the New York Times were, “END OF THE WAR!,” “NEW CHANCELLOR BEGS FOR ORDER TO OUST THE KAISER,” “HE FLED TO HOLLAND,” and “BERLIN SIGNED BY REVOLUTIONISTS.”
President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919 Armistice Day. Today, is an annual federal holiday honoring our veterans. The name changed to Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth nations after World War II. People take two minutes at 11:00 a.m. local time to respect the roughly 60 million people who died in the war.
In Emporia, Ks. in 1953, Alvin King, who owned a shoe repair shop, had an idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all Veterans, not just those who died in WWI. King had been active with the American War Dads during WWII. He began campaigning to turn Armistice Day to All Veterans Day.
With the help of U.S. Rep. Ed Ross, also of Emporia, King presented a bill, which was pushed through Congress. President Eisenhower signed it into a law in 1954, replacing Armistice Day with Veterans Day.
Let’s all fly our flags high and proudly as we thank the veterans who protect our freedoms and our country – not just on Veterans Day, but every day.