Friday, November 11

11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year

Once again it's time to thank a vet for the freedom you enjoy.

Veterans Day is an annual United States federal holiday observed on Nov. 11 honoring military veterans. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and falls on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.

Did you know this holiday is often celebrated by having a ravioli meal?! This tradition dates back to the ending days of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson, aware that the returning soldiers would be longing for home cooked meals, invited 2,000 soldiers to the White House and helped his staff chefs cook them ravioli, which had just become a mainstay in mainstream American kitchens due to commercial canning.

The holiday is commonly printed as Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day in calendars and advertisements. While these spellings are grammatically acceptable, the United States government has declared that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling.

Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for Nov. 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he 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."

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that the President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe Nov. 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act approved May 13, 1938, made Nov. 11 a legal holiday; "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas man named Alvin King, the owner of a shoe repair shop, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veterans Day. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.

Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

Although originally scheduled for celebration on Nov. 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. After seven years it was moved back to its original celebration on Nov. 11, 1978.

Many people associate Veterans Day with poppies. Why? The red remembrance poppy became a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem In Flanders Fields. Red poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders after World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans' organization to organize a nationwide distribution. 


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