Veterans Day commemorates the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was originally called Armistice Day and was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson 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.”
Those who witnessed that first Armistice Day – who saw the end of the “war to end all wars” - could never have envisioned how many more times in the future Americans would be asked to fight and die in foreign lands for freedom.
Yet, the call came again and again, and with the addition of millions of veterans after World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day to honor all veterans who served in uniform. Today there are more than 22 million veterans, 6 million of them disabled. Many of you reading this are among that number, so to you and all veterans I render a sincere salute.
Because that call to arms has come time and again, Veterans Day is also a time to remember that we must keep our military strong. It is the strength of arms that secures the peace. There are always new threats to our nation and to its ideals of peace and freedom.
For those who have worn it, the American military uniform has always represented courage, honor, and a willingness to serve and sacrifice for the ideals upon which this nation was founded.
A wise Soldier once said, “A nation that forgets to thank and honor its veterans ceases to be a great nation.” We at AUSA work hard not only to represent our Army and our nation’s veterans but also to remind the nation of the enormous debt of gratitude and respect we owe to those who have served.