Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, when on 11 November 1921, the remains of an unknown World War I American soldier were buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and the official cessation of WWI hostilities "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918. President Warren Harding requested that "All citizens indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these valorous lives, and of supplication for His Divine mercy on our beloved country." Inscribed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are the words, "Here lies in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."
In 1954, Congress was determined to additionally recognize the sacrifice of veterans before and since WWI, and those of future generations, and thereby proposed to recognize 11 November as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in WWII, signed legislation establishing Veterans Day.
Insight into the sacrifice of our veterans and their families can be gained by noting that, since the American Revolution, tens of millions of Americans have served our nation with honor, and almost 1.2 million have died in defense of it. Another 1.4 million have been wounded, many gravely. The numbers, of course, offer no reckoning of the inestimable value of these Patriots' lives or the anguish borne by their families, but we do know that their sacrifices defended a most precious gift -- the gift of Liberty that we cherish to this day.
On Veterans' Day, let's remember to thank the millions of men and women who served their nation to protect the freedom American Citizens enjoy daily. Let us also prove our appreciation by honoring them with an equal commitment to country. We must take full advantage of our freedoms by doing the right thing; let us treat others as we want to be treated; and let us be honest, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, and reverent.