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!
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.”