On Memorial Day, we pause to remember those who died in service to our nation. On Veterans Day – today – we honor the 25 million who served the United States in the armed forces.
But the meaning of this day goes much deeper. It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month World War I came to an end in 1918. This tragic episode in human history claimed the lives of 20 million. And when it was over, the day became a holiday in the victorious nations to honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day in 1919.
In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law Veterans Day, so those who served in World War II would be honored.
We are called upon today to recognize those living among us who have served, and the number of veterans who served in World War II grows smaller and smaller each day. While we can, let us take this opportunity to salute them especially, and to thank them for their service.