Today is Veterans Day, which has its origins in the November 11, 1918 armistice agreement to end WWI, 94 years ago today. WWI was known as the “Great War” and “the war to end all wars.” Within two decades after the end of the “war to end all wars,” Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI and quickly occupied half of Europe. Europe plunged into continental-wide war again. Meanwhile, Japan invaded China and Manchuria–they had already occupied Korea for decades–and then Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The United States, having been largely on the sidelines, entered full-force into WWII. By the end of the war in 1945, tens of millions of people were dead, millions were mercilessly exterminated in concentration camps, and tens of thousands of civilians were vaporized by Little Boy and Fat Man. In declaring the first anniversary of Armistice Day in 1919, President Woodrow WIlson said, “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.” How ironic it is that Congress declared “Armistice Day” a federal holiday on May 13, 1938, a day “dedicated to the cause of world peace” at the same time Germany took control of Austria and Japan reached the Yellow River in China.
In 1954 the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day,” and in his proclamation on the occasion of the name change, President Eisenhower asked the United States to “let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.” [Read more…]