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Honoring U.S. Veterans







Origins of
Veterans Day



- In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in

Arlington


National


Cemetery


. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of w:st="on">
Washington
, became the focal point of reverence for w:st="on">

America


's veterans.



- Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in w:st="on">
England
and
France

, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of
honor (in

England


, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).



- These memorial gestures all took place on Nov. 11, giving universal
recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m.,
Nov. 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).



- The day became known as "Armistice Day.” Armistice Day officially
received its name in
w:st="on">
America

in 1926 through a Congressional resolution.



- It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional
action. If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was
"the War to end all Wars," November 11 might still be called
Armistice Day. But, only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war
broke out in
Europe

.



- Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred seven
thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.



- Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II and
Korea, Congress was requested to make this day an occasion to honor those
who have served America in all wars. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed
a bill proclaiming Nov. 11 as Veterans Day.



- The focal point for official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day
continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the
Unknowns. At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, a combined color guard representing all
military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb.



- The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a
presidential wreath. The bugler plays "taps." The rest of the
ceremony takes place in the amphitheater.



Source: www.vfw.org (Veterans of Foreign Wars Web site) contributed to
this report.</I>


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