As we recognize Veterans Day, it gives us a chance to reflect on what led to the creation of the federal holiday.

Veterans Day is held each year on Nov. 11, with ceremonies taking place at 11 a.m. all over the country.

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, proclaimed in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson.

Armistice is when the parties at war agreed to stop fighting. It recognizes the end of World War I, when hostilities ceased at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918 — the 11th hour on 11th day of 11th month.

A statue of a “Doughboy” stands firmly in front of the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center as a reminder of the American infantryman of World War I, known at the time as “The Great War.”

The Great War marked the first time in history the United States sent soldiers abroad to defend foreign soil. We lost 116,516 soldiers.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, in November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "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…"

Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to reflect about what it means to be an American. It allows us to mark the date of armistice in World War I. 

Veterans Day is a day to be dedicated to world peace. That war is over, but battles continue to rage around the world. We hope all countries may find a way to live in peace. 

And, when you cross paths with a veteran, thank them for their service.

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