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November 10, 2012

For the love of God and country

(Continued)

A year later, many people in our great country wanted a commemoration to be established in honor of this great occasion. President Wilson made a proclamation that starting Nov, 11, 1919, the day would be known as Armistice Day to honor those who died in the country’s service with solemn pride and gratitude for the victory. There were parades and worship services throughout the country.

As time went on, our allies, England and France, paid tribute in 1920 to their dead who had been buried without identification. Our own country found four unidentified heroes in cemeteries in France and their caskets were dug up and one of our most decorated American enlisted man, Sgt. Edward S. Younger of the 59th Infantry, chose one of the caskets by placing white roses on it. This Unknown Soldier was returned to America via the cruiser Olympia and was laid in state in the rotunda of the Capitol. On Armistice Day the caisson bearing the casket went to Arlington National Cemetery. The Unknown Soldier rests in the center of cemetery with the inscription “HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD.”

Following World War I, the United States was involved in World War II from Dec. 7, 1941, through Aug. 14, 1945, and in the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1953. Many states began to incorporate the dead of all American wars. On Nov. 11, 1953, in Emporia, Kan., the term Veterans Day was used. In February 1954 Rep. Edward J. Rees of Emporia presented a bill in Congress that called for Armistice Day to be officially known as Veterans Day. Congress passed the bill without any opposition and it was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 1, 1954. Thus Veterans Day is a day we honor the men and women who gave their lives to keep America free and safe.

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