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To Perpetuate Peace

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski
  • Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command
Each year, on November 11, we remember the veterans who have sacrificed for us and those service men and women who are currently fighting for our freedom around the globe.

However, not many of us know the true history and original meaning of Veterans Day.

Although World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles June 28, 1919, fighting actually ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month--November 11, 1918.

Armistice Day was to be dedicated to the cause of world peace, and the day was set aside to honor veterans of World War I. For Americans, Nov. 11, 1919, was designated as the first commemoration of the observance.

Congress officially recognized Armistice Day in 1926, when it passed a concurrent resolution stating; "the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human 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."

The hope for world peace was short-lived. Eleven years later, Americans saw the greatest mobilization of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen in the Nation's history during World War II.

Just a few years later following the Korean War, Congress moved to recognize November 11 as a holiday not only for veterans of World War I, but for all veterans, and changed the original designation of "Armistice Day" to "Veterans Day." Since then, we've celebrated the brave men and women who've fought and continue to fight for our great nation.

As we celebrate and honor past and present veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, let's not forget the original resolution passed by congress in 1926 "to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations."