Official recognition of the end of the first modern global conflict -- World War I - - was made in a concurrent resolution (44 Stat. 1982) enacted by Congress on June 4, 1926, with these words:
WHEREAS the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
WHEREAS it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
WHEREAS the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, andthe 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day. "
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the Nation's history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Right or wrong, we have our young men and women in harm's way. They are not there because they think this war is just or right. They are not there because they are protecting the United States from imminent invasion. They are not there because they are trying to secure our oil. They are there because we sent them there. We sent them there and they go where they're told. Simple as that. I disagree, at nearly every level, with our invasion of Iraq. But on this day -- and indeed every day -- I honor the men and women who serve and who have served.
This is the ship I served on for 3 1/2 years of my 4 years in the Navy -- the U.S.S. Grayback -- the last diesel-electric submarine in the fleet (now resting at the bottom of the South China Sea). Maybe I should start interspersing some of my old 'sea-stories' here on my blog, just to keep things from getting boring (my kids are, at this point, screaming -- 'NO!!').
Anyway, happy Veteran's Day to all who have served.