Significance of Veterans Day
Day is observed in the United States each year on
November 11 in remembrance of those who fought in wars
for America and its citizens.
The first Veterans Day was observed as "Armistice
Day" in 1921 when an unknown World War I American
soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the
highest place of honor in our country. As similar burials
of an unknown soldier also occurred at the highest places
of honor on November 11 in England (Westminster Abbey)
and France (Arc de Triomphe), these events became
universally recognized for symbolically marking the end
of World War I (since the fighting had ceased at 11 a.m.
on November 11, 1918the 11th hour of the 11th day
of the 11th month).
In 1926, Armistice Day became the official name for this
day that was proclaimed a national holiday 12 years
later. However, a few years thereafter, World War II
erupted in Europe, shattering the idealistic belief that
World War I had been "the War to end all Wars."
The concept of this national holiday thus evolved to
become one that honored all veterans who served America
in all wars, and on November 11, 1954 this day was
officially renamed Veterans Day.
Each year on Veterans Day, ceremonies are held at
Arlington National Cemetery. At the Tomb of the Unknowns,
a national tribute to the war dead is symbolized by the
laying of a presidential wreath, and by the bugler
Photo taken during the
unveiling of the Kearny statue at
Arlington National Cemetery on
November 11, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson and New
Jersey Governor James Fielder are pictured here with
dignitaries; the general's descendants; and veterans of
Kearny's New Jersey Brigade, including Charles Hopkins
(foreground, center) who was responsible for the erection
of this equestrian monument. Image care of The
Andersonville Diary & Memoirs of Charles Hopkins,
edited by William Styple, (New Jersey: Belle Grove
Publishing Co., 1988).
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