Please join us in honoring service members— past and present—on Veterans Day.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month,  of 1918, the Armistice, marking the official end of World War I, was signed.

According to the Center for Military History’s article “The History of Veterans Day“, on Nov. 11, 1919,  President Wilson announced the first Armistice Day:

“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.”

According to the Army’s article “Tomb of the Unknowns“:

On March 4, 1921, Congress approved a resolution providing for the burial of an unidentified American soldier, following the custom adopted by other allied countries after World War I. The site was to be the plaza of Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater, which had been dedicated the previous year.

On Memorial Day, 1921, an unknown was exhumed from each of four cemeteries in France. The remains were placed in identical caskets and assembled at Chalon sur Marne.

On October 24, Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger, wounded in combat and highly decorated for valor, selected the unknown soldier for World War 1 by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. Those remaining were interred in the Meuse Argonne Cemetery, France. The Unknown Soldier then returned home to the U.S. to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda until Armistice Day. On November 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Amphitheater.

In 1954, following the efforts of veterans organization to establish a day to celebrate all veterans, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation that recognized November 11th as the day to honor American veterans of all wars.

“As part of the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, Congress moved the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October effective in 1971,” wrote Marc Leepson in his book Flag: An American Biography. “But many states kept the traditional November 11 date. So in 1975 President Ford signed legislation restoring Veterans Day to November 11 beginning in 1978.”

Please join us to thank and honor all of our veterans today—and every day.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry, near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending "The Great War" went into effect. Photo and caption credit: DOD.

Armistice Day - Arlington National Cemetery - Secretary of War Weeks, Pres. Coolidge, and Asst. Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt, 1923. Photo and caption credit: Library of Congress.

Early morning view of Barrancas National Cemetery on Veterans Day, 11/11/82. Photo credit: PHC Ronald W. Bayles. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

A veteran places a wreath at the base of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the day before its official dedication. Photo credit: Mickey Sanborn. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War. Photo credit: Mickey Sanborn. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/2003 - US Air Force (USAF) Airmen of the 447th Air Expeditionary Group (AEG) Honor Guard lower the flag during a Veteran's Day retreat ceremony at Baghdad International Airport (IAP), Iraq, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Photo and image credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/1984 - Members of a joint services honor guard salute as the national anthem is played during a Veteran's Day memorial service at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in Skinner Plaza. Photo and caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/1993 - A view of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Statue following the unveiling and dedication ceremony on the National Mall on Veteran's Day. The statue was created by sculptor Glenna Goodacre and is dedicated to the more than 265,000 women who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam conflict. Photo and caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/2003 - US President George W. Bush (foreground left) renders honors after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, during the Veteran's Day Ceremony, held at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia (VA). Photo and caption credit: Defense Imagery.

Officials from Romagne-sous-Montfaucon Village and U.S. Air Force Col. Dave Goldfein (2nd from right), 52nd Fighter Wing commander, lay wreaths in honor of Veteran's Day at the World War I Meuse-Argonne Cemetery and Memorial in France during a recent Veteran's Day ceremony, on Nov. 11, 2004. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Stacy Moless. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/2004 - An American boy looks at the the largest American cemetery in Europe, the World War I Meuse-Argonne Cemetery and Memorial in France, during a recent Veteran's Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2004. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Stacy Moless. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/12/2005 - Brothers Joe, Willie, Wilfred, Hector, Robert, Denio and Tony Vila, parade honorees, enjoy the Veteran's Day Parade in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 12, 2005. Photo credit: Senior Airman Carlye D. La Pointe. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/2006 - A child sits in the autumn leaves as he plays with prisoner-of-war flags during the Veteran's Day ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2006. Photo credit: Cherie A. Thurlby. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

11/11/2008 - Thousands attend a Veteran's Day ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia Nov. 11, 2008. Photo credit: Cherie Cullen. Caption credit: Defense Imagery.

Master Sgt. Brian Algeo and Maj. David Watts flatten the American flag hung on the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing headquarters building at Camp Losano at Kandahar Airfield Nov. 11, 2011. The flag is 25 feet by 40 feet and was placed in honor of Veterans Day. Algeo and Watts are members of the 451st Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. Photo credit: Senior Airman David Carbajal. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

U.S. Army Spc. David Lamson, a native of Athens, Ga. and National Flag Bearer for the 1st Cavalry Division Honor Guard exits a Veterans Day ceremony at the Joint Operations Center, Nov. 11, 2011. Photo credit: Spc Ken Scar.

Coalition Forces take time out of their day to remember those who have fallen with a remembrance ceremony, Nov. 11, 2011, on Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jocelyn Ford. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

Coalition Forces take time out of their day to remember those who have fallen with a remembrance ceremony, Nov. 11, 2011, on Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jocelyn Ford. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

Retired Army 1st Sgt. William Staude, of Elliott, Pa., salutes soldiers from the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, stationed in Coraopolis, Pa., as they march past him during the Veterans Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh, Nov. 11, 2011. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

Coalition service members stand during the Remembrance Day ceremony held at Camp Eggers, Kabul. More than 200 military and civilian members, assigned to NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan gathered to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Photo credit: Senior Airman Andrea Salazar. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

A Canadian service member, places a red poppy flower on a wreath in honor of Remembrance Day at Camp Eggers, Kabul. More than 200 military and civilian members, assigned to NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan gathered to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Photo and caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

After a Remembrance Day ceremony, different units in attendance laid wreaths to remember the fallen during a Remembrance Day ceremony at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Nov. 11, 2011. Photo credit: Cpl. Meredith Brown. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Nov. 11, 2011. White House photo by Pete Souza.

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Nov. 11, 2011. White House photo by Pete Souza.

Retired Army Col. Walter Joseph Marm Jr., recipient of the Medal of Honor, salutes during the playing of the national anthem at Madison Square Park in New York, Nov. 11, 2011. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade. Caption credit: DOD.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno accompanies Hon. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, and other city officials during the Veterans Day Parade in New York City, New York Nov. 11, 2011. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade. Caption credit: DOD.

A lone poppy, the symbol of blood shed by British forces in poppy fields during World War I, rests on the FOB Delhi Memorial following a remembrance service here, Nov. 11. Afghan National Security Forces joined Marines and British forces to honor the fallen during the service, which commemorated Veterans Day and British Remembrance Day. Since 2006, coalition forces have fought to bring security and stability to the once insurgent-heavy Garmsir district. Forty Marines and 15 British forces have been killed here since then. In the last year and a half, twelve ANSF have been killed in Garmsir. Five years later, coalition forces are near transitioning control of the district to the local government. Photo credit: Cpl. Reece Lodder. Caption credit: DVIDSHUB.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HI (May 22, 2012)-- Service members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command render honors as a set of remains returns to the Republic of Korea during a repatriation ceremony held on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI May 22. These remains were recovered by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) during operations in North Korea. Following forensic analysis by the Central Identification Laboratory and a Joint Forensic Review, it was determined these remains were not those of US service members killed during the Korean War. JPAC conducts global search, recovery and laboratory operations to identify unaccounted-for Americans from past conflicts in order to support the Department of Defense’s personnel accounting efforts. Image: Specialist 1st Class Barry Hirayama. Caption: JPAC.

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