In 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, on a hill overlooking our nation’s capital.  It turns out that similar ceremonies had previously taken place in England and France; an unknown soldier was buried in each country’s most esteemed places – Westminster Abbey in London and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  These observances all took place on November 11th , because an armistice – or ceasefire – was signed at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
In 1926, Congress officially declared November 11th of that year Armistice Day.  Then in 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday, honoring American veterans of World War I “for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”  The date was picked because even though World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, the armistice went into effect on November 11th of 1918.  That’s why we celebrate on November 11th, and that’s why the holiday was originally called Armistice Day.  Its name was changed to Veteran’s Day in 1954 and became a way to pay our respects to American veterans of all wars, not just those of World War I.

Enjoy your Veteran’s Day holiday, and take a moment to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our country!

Operation Surf
Operation Surf surfing on beach
As we have done in years past, Veteran’s Day is a good time to mention our friends at Operation Surf…a globally recognized surf program designed to change the lives of our wounded war heroes – one wave at a time.  Van Curaza, a Central Coast local, founded the organization in 2009.  Van started surfing the same way I did, and at the same place; we both rented canvas surf mats from a little concession stand under the Avila Beach pier.  Van took surfing a lot further than I did…he established his first surf school in 1979 was a pro through most of the ‘80s.
Van Curaza
As Curaza said in a 2021 interview, Operation Surf “channels the healing powers of the ocean to restore hope, renew purpose and inspire injured veterans to seek wellness in all aspects of their lives.”  Operation Surf has helped thousands of our military heroes by providing them the resources and support necessary to gain control of their lives.
Now 59, Van himself battled addiction in his younger years.  He considers himself fortunate to have gotten help when he needed it most, and Operation Surf has been a way for him to give back.  “Personally, I would not be where I am today had I not made the choice to get clean and sober,” Curaza said. Through my journey to recovery, I learned to utilize the most challenging things in my life – my story – to help others.”
Operation Surf event group photo
Operation Surf was originally called Amazing Surf Adventures, a program designed to help young people struggling with the same drug dependence issues that once plagued Van.  Today, Operation Surf serves active-duty and veterans from all over the country, helping them heal from the mental and physical challenges of current and past combat service.
Operation Surf surfing
Operation Surf YouTube thumbnail
For more info on Operation Surf, check out their website at
Until next time,