World War I (also known as the Great War, War of Wars, and the War to End All Wars) began in the summer of 1914, and over the course of four years embroiled all of the world's great powers, mobilizing 70 million combatants and resulting in more than 9 million (military) deaths. The political, economic and personal toll was unprecedented. By the end of the war four major empires (German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman) were defeated and dismantled, and political boundaries across the world were redrawn.
|Woodrow Wilson with the American Peace Commissioners|
|President Woodrow Wilson|
Although the war officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, actual combat had "ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of 'the war to end all wars.'"
President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed November 11 as Armistice Day, an observance in honor of those who served and died valiantly for our country, but it wasn't until May 13, 1938 that congress officially declared the day a national holiday dedicated to peace and the service of our veterans.
|President Dwight D. Eisenhower|
"In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."
|The Veterans Day ceremony at Elmwood Cemetery honors members of the 102nd U.S. Colored Infantry. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DETROIT HISTORICAL SOCIETY|
Veterans Day Activities:
Print and Color the U.S. Flag
Print and Fold an Independence Eagle Paper Airplane
Print and Fold an Uncle Sam Origami
©2010 Tammy Yee