“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…”
These words were spoken by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 as he proclaimed that November 11 would forever after be commemorated as Armistice Day, the day we now know as Veterans Day.
Over the years, this day has become a time to pause and reflect upon the sacrifices made by our military. It is observed by countless individuals who take part in activities from parades to service projects around the nation.
An Official Holiday
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 marked the beginning of an armistice between the Allied Nations and the Central Powers during World War I. World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
On June 4, 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a resolution stating:
"Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples."
The holiday was made official by a Congressional Act approved on May 13, 1938. The Act named the 11th of November in each year “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.”
“Armistice Day” Becomes “Veterans Day”
The term “armistice” is used in war to describe a temporary cessation of hostilities, hence the name given to remember this day. On June 1, 1954, Congress amended the 1938 act replacing the word “Armistice” with “Veterans,” to honor all veterans past and future, not just those who fought in World War I.
Our Nation Celebrates
The first Veterans Day proclamation was issued by President Eisenhower on October 8th, 1954. He stated, “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose…”
Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. This is different from Memorial Day which is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving. The original concept for celebrating Veterans Day was the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11am, with parades and public meetings to follow.
The observance of Veterans Day not only helps us remember the historical significance of the date, but also serves as a day of celebration; “A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
Here at LaBovick Law Group, we have our own celebrations to honor our veterans. Our staff commemorates the holiday by wearing yellow – the color used to show solidarity and support for those in the armed services. Several staff members also brought in pictures of family members who have served in the military. We have a Pinterest board dedicated to veterans which includes resources, tips, and inspiration for both veterans and their families that we add to continuously.
Assisting Our Veterans
We are devoted to assisting veterans who need help procuring benefits. Veterans who suffer from either a physical or psychological conditions related to service may be eligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The goal of our veterans benefits department is to make the often daunting process of applying for veterans benefits as uncomplicated as possible. As a VA accredited attorney, I can help answer questions and plot a course to simplify applying for benefits.
If you need to establish treatment or receive help in general, call the West Palm Beach VAMC at (561) 422-8262 or visit their website. There is also a free booklet for the Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors for 2013 available for download on the VA website.
We thank all those who have served our country, past and present, and wish you a Happy Veterans Day!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Salvatore Vuono
Elizabeth Gormley, Esq. is LaBovick Law Group's lead Social Security disability and Veterans Affairs attorney. Ms. Gormley is well-versed in SSD law and reviewing medical records. She is a VA accredited attorney.