Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 311, November 11

World War I, known at the time as “The Great War," officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "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 nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
Why did I take the time and effort to copy all of this into the blog?  Mainly, because I didn't know this history.  I had only a vague idea of it.  What I do know is that I honor our armed forces, I honor the men and women who serve and fight to protect our freedoms, our way of life.

As I've written in earlier posts, I came of age during the Viet Nam era.  It was not popular then to champion the military nor to revere those who served ... and, in some cases ... died so bravely so that the rest of us could sleep peacefully in the comfort of our own homes, our own beds.  My heart ached for those men and women who returned to an ungrateful nation.  My heart still aches when I witness the lack of respect given to our veterans and their families.  More than anyone, they deserve our gratitude, our respect, our reverence.

This I know for sure:  those who fight to protect us do so at the risk of their own lives.  Only recently, a young Navy SEAL paid the ultimate price in trying to protect an American ambassador.  These men and women are true heroes and heroines, more so than any found in books.


  1. Thanks for this history lesson. I can't imagine a world where the norm is to not to revere those who served.

  2. The sad thing about the armistice is that the Treaty of Versailles is considered a major cause of World War Two. That's why some historians call it "the peace to end all peace."

  3. There is a peace that is no peace. Is there a war that is no war? I don't think there is.