Veterans Day 2015: Honoring Those Who Served

vetsdayalt3 Today, we celebrate Veterans Day and I would like to take a few moments to discuss the significance and history behind what we have come to know as”Veterans Day”. World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 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.” Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday became Veterans Day in 1954. Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls – this not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Take an opportunity tomorrow to reflect on the sacrifices this Country’s Veterans have made to ensure we have the freedoms we so enjoy. –Capt. Anne Diggs, chief of staff, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery