In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, Located on the grounds of what was once the home of Robert E. Lee, sits on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington; has become the focal point of remembrance for America's veterans.

Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These memorial ACTS took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as "Armistice Day".

Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar congressional action. If World War I, with 10 to 12 million deaths, was "the War to end all Wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But only a few years after the proclamation of the holiday, war again broke out in Europe and Asia: sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle. The total number of civilian and military dead was between 70 and 100 million, with half of the casualties being civilian

Realizing that veterans of WW II and Korea also helped to preserve the peace, Congress took up a bill to make this day an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed the bill proclaiming November 11TH Veterans’ Day.

The focal point for official, national Veterans Day ceremonies continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington. Every year, in addition, the President of the United States urges all Americans to honor the commitment of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies; thus, we at Pikes Peak Community College do annually pay tribute to our veterans on this most important observance.

Published: November 11th, 2016

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