The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month every year, forever
Nov. 11, 2001
The day we recognize today as Veterans Day had its beginnings in simultaneous memorial gestures that took place in the years immediately following World War I.
Known then as "Armistice Day," an unknown American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Similar ceremonies occurred in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).
These memorial gestures all took place on Nov. 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was "the war to end all wars," Nov. 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out again in Europe. More than 16.5 million Americans took part. Of that number 407,000 died in military service, more than 292,000 in battle.
Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress was requested to make this day an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.
Every year the president of the United States urges all Americans to honor the commitment of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies. One piece of this nationwide observance takes place at the Doughboy Monument in Meridian at 11 a.m. today.
There is no better opportunity to express our respect, love and admiration for the men and women of our U.S. military. They served and continue to serve the cause of freedom.