I sometimes think that Veteran's Day is the most undervalued and under appreciated patriotic holiday that our country celebrates. Even Labor Day gets more attention and excitement than the only day of the year that we set aside to thank those who serve and have served in our nation's armed forces. Memorial Day is spent remembering those who have given their lives for our freedom, but the one day we designate to encourage and thank those who are still with us seems to get lost in the bustle before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As I reflected today on all the veterans that I know on a personal basis, I realized that I really didn't know how Veteran's Day became a national holiday. I found that it was originally known as Armistice Day which commemorated the signing of the Armistice. It was signed by the Germans on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, which effectively ended World War I. President Woodrow Wilson declared it a national holiday the following year, to be celebrated each year on November 11. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower expanded the holiday to include all veterans, not just those of WWI, so Armistice was replaced with Veterans and has been known by that name ever since.
So today I am thankful for all veterans. Those who have never seen the heat of battle and those who have been deep in the trenches. Those who keep the vast machinery of our armed forces running smoothly behind the scenes, and those who fly overhead to keep us safe from threats foreign and domestic. I am thankful that there are brave men and women who put their lives at risk on a day to day basis so I can raise my children without fear, and have the freedom to voice my opinions as I am doing right now. Thank you and God speed.