President Barack Obama going through Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2009
President Obama talking to a Korean War vet on this day in 2010
Former President George W Bush in 2006 lying the wreath to the tomb of the Unknown Solider
I truly enjoy this political cartoon showing our troops of today's wars saluting the veterans of the WW 2 generation veterans!
Veterans Day originally was held every November 11th, and though it typically falls on this day, officially the holiday is now observed on the weekday that falls closest to November 11th every year. It was first incorporated as by President Wilson as Armistice Day in 1919. Other countries today also still recognize November 11th as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in honor of the Armistice treaty which ended WWI.
It was in 1938 that Armistice Day was enacted as an official American holiday. But eventually after WWII, citizens felt that the veterans of all wars should be recognized, not just those of WWI. So in 1954 Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In America, the holiday now celebrates the approximate 2.9 million U.S. veterans with parades and ceremonies among other events.
The U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of 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."
The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that the President (Calvin Coolidge) issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."
In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Alfred King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11 to honor veterans. With the help of U.S. Representative Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.
Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978 it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. Since this change, there has been a trend against being closed on the holiday. It began with businesses (excluding banks) and in recent years some schools and local governments have also chosen to remain open.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Remarks by the President on Veterans Day
11 November 2006
11:39 A.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you. Thanks for coming. Secretary Nicholson, thank you for your kind words and for your leadership. Members of the Cabinet, Members of Congress, members of the United State military, all veterans, all volunteers who have sworn to uphold the security of the United States, I thank your families for being here and I thank our veterans. I am proud to join you on this day of honor.
On this day, in this month, at this hour, our nation remembers the moment when the guns of World War I went silent -- and we recognize the service and the sacrifice of our nation's veterans. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, our veterans have borne the costs of America's wars -- and they have stood watch over America's peace. The American people are grateful to the veterans and all who have fought for our freedom.
Since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, the National Cemetery has reminded our citizens of the cost of liberty. The simple white markers testify to honor fulfilled and duty served. Most of these markers stand over graves of Americans who came home to enjoy the peace they earned. Too many stand over the graves of those who gave their lives to protect that peace. This day is dedicated to all who answered the call to service -- whether they live in honor among us, or sleep in valor beneath this sacred ground.
On this Veterans Day, we give thanks for the 24 million Americans who strengthen our nation with their example of service and sacrifice. Our veterans are drawn from many generations and from many backgrounds. Some charged across great battlefields. Some fought on the high seas. Some patrolled the open skies. And all contributed to the character and to the greatness of America.
On this Veterans Day, we honor a new generation of men and women who are defending our freedom. Since September the 11th, 2001, our Armed Forces have engaged the enemy, the terrorists on many fronts. At this moment, more than 1.4 million Americans are on active duty, serving in the cause of freedom and peace around the world. They are our nation's finest citizens. (Applause.) They confront grave danger to defend the safety of the American people. They've brought down tyrants, they've liberated two nations, they have helped bring freedom to more than 50 million people. Through their sacrifice, they're making this nation safer and more secure -- and they are earning the proud title of veteran.
On this Veterans Day, we're humbled by the strong hearts of those who have served. Last week, Secretary Nicholson told me about a visit he made to New York City where he met a group of veterans who lost limbs in this war. Secretary Nicholson asked them how they could keep their spirits up. One man answered, "Sir, it is because we feel the American people are so appreciative of our service." Many of our veterans bear the scars of their service to our country - and we are a nation that will keep its commitments to those who have risked their lives for our freedom. That young man was right -- we do appreciate the service of those who wear our uniform.
To help Americans show our appreciation to those who have served, Secretary Nicholson has asked all our nation's veterans to wear their medals today. I urge our citizens to go up to those men and women and shake a hand and give a hug, and give a word of thanks. I ask you to consider volunteering at a veterans hospital or a nursing home. I encourage you to work with your local veterans group to help support our troops in the field -- and their families here at home.
As we raise our flag and as the bugle sounds taps, we remember that the men and women of America's Armed Forces serve a great cause. They follow in a great tradition, handed down to them by America's veterans. And in public ceremonies and in private prayer, we give thanks for the freedom we enjoy because of their willingness to serve.
I thank you for honoring those who serve today, and for honoring those who have set such a sterling example -- our nation's veterans. May God bless our veterans, may God bless all who wear the uniform, and may God continue to bless the United State of America.
Presidential Proclamation -- Veterans Day
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.
In an unbroken line of valor stretching across more than two centuries, our veterans have charged into harm's way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America. Whether Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, they are our Nation's finest citizens, and they have shown the heights to which Americans can rise when asked and inspired to do so. Our courageous troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe have earned their place alongside previous generations of great Americans, serving selflessly, tour after tour, in conflicts spanning nearly a decade.
Long after leaving the uniform behind, many veterans continue to serve our country as public servants and mentors, parents and community leaders. They have added proud chapters to the story of America, not only on the battlefield, but also in communities from coast to coast. They have built and shaped our Nation, and it is our solemn promise to support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as they return to their homes and families.
America's sons and daughters have not watched over her shores or her citizens for public recognition, fanfare, or parades. They have preserved our way of life with unwavering patriotism and quiet courage, and ours is a debt of honor to care for them and their families. These obligations do not end after their time of service, and we must fulfill our sacred trust to care for our veterans after they retire their uniforms.
As a grateful Nation, we are humbled by the sacrifices rendered by our service members and their families out of the deepest sense of service and love of country. On Veterans Day,let us remember our solemn obligations to our veterans, and recommit to upholding the enduring principles that our country lives for, and that our fellow citizens have fought and died for.
With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2010, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
ARLINGTON, Va. — President Barack Obama carried out the traditional Veterans Day role Wednesday, then made a surprise visit to a part of Arlington National Cemetery reserved for troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, walking among the grave sites and talking to mourners.
In his brief speech after a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Obama paid fond tribute to the determination of the U.S. military, from those who served generations ago to today’s troops fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and missions around the world.
“To all of them — to our veterans, to the fallen and to their families — there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice,” he said.
Obama pledged he would do right by all veterans and families, saying: “America will not let you down.”
The president spoke one day after somberly honoring the victims of a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. His first Veterans Day as president comes as Obama is on the cusp of announcing a revamped war strategy in Afghanistan that is expected to include sending thousands more troops into that war zone.
After his comments, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent some time in the section of the cemetery where fallen troops from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are buried. The Obamas surprised family members who were there to pay their respects and spent some time talking to them.
Earlier at this national burial ground for war heroes, Obama, wearing a black raincoat, placed a flower-laced wreath on a stand and stood over it silently for several moments at the site of the Tomb of the Unknowns. He placed his hand on his heart as a bugler played taps.