Some 70 million military personnel participated in one of the greatest wars known to man.
The Treaty of Versailles with Germany was signed on 28 June, 1919; The U.S. Senate did not ratify the treaty. A formal ending of the United States participation in the war was not signed until July 2, 1921, by President Warren G. Harding.
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn 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.” (President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming the first Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919).
Even though The U.S. would not end their involvement until Warren G. Harding’s presidency.
Often Veterans Day is confused with Memorial Day. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, whereas Memorial Day celebrates all those who died while serving in the Armed Forces of the U.S.
World War II veteran Raymond Weeks, of Birmingham, Ala., who is known as The Father of Veterans Day, led the first national celebration in 1947.
Armistice Day had been celebrated for those that had died during World War I, but Weeks wanted a celebration that included all veterans.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan awarded Weeks the Presidential Citizen Medal. Weeks led the Veterans Day celebration in Birmingham until his death in 1985.
On June 1, 1954, Congress amended the act,and it has been known as Veterans Day since.
Robert Valencia is a retired Army Sergeant First Class, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion. He can be reached at 970-560-1891. Listen to Veterans Forum the last Friday of the month at 8:30am on KSJD Radio FM 90.5/91.5.