November 11, 1918, was the day that brought to a close the most destructive, and far reaching war in human annals, establishing November 11 as a national holiday. The day marked the end of the Great War known as World War I.
In 1926 the U.S. Congress designated November 11 as Armistice Day to commemorate the resumption of the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed and to honor those soldiers both alive and fallen who served during the war.
Unfortunately this did not turn out to be so. After World War II and Korea, Congress changed the name of the day in 1954 to Veterans Day in order to include all soldiers who had served in combat. Since then other armed conflicts, from Vietnam to Iraq, have ensued, swelling the ranks of U.S. veterans into the millions.
It is a sad time when an unknown soldier has died in a war. That means that he or she has no family to claim them and secure a proper burial. After the Great War in 1921, the very first unknown soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In England an unknown soldier was buried in Westminster Abbey. In France yet another unknown soldier was buried at the Arc de Triomphe. All burials took place on November 11th. These people have died for their country and each country obviously feels it’s important to recognize their sacrifice and make sure they rest in peace.
In the United States in 1958, two more unknown soldiers, one from World War II and one from the Korean War, were placed in Arlington next to the World War I soldier. In 1984 an unknown soldier from Vietnam was also placed there. It is now customary in the United States to place these soldiers next to their fallen comrades.
To honor these men and all Americans who gave their lives in each war, an Army honor guard, the 3rd U.S. Infantry keeps a day and night vigil. Every November 11th, at 11 A.M. there is a ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater to honor them as well.
As the U.S. honors veterans of all its wars tomorrow, Veterans Day, the U.S. Library of Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to make sure the nation never forgets their service. I have set up a link For more information just click on the Title Veterans Day at the top of the page .