It’s hard to imagine that World War I involved 35 countries and involved such tremendous death and destruction.. It lasted five years, from 1914 to 1918. The United States only fought from 1917 to 1918. A year was more than enough time, however, to claim too many lives, including the namesakes of Wausau’s Burns Post (Chartered in 1920). People held tight to the notion that this needed to be the very last war.
When the fighting stopped, leaders of several countries signed an Armistice on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. An Armistice is an agreement to stop all fighting. This truce was signed on November 11th, 1918 at 11 A.M. This is important to know because Veterans’ Day was originally called Armistice Day. This day was set aside to reflect and remember the sacrifices men and women made during World War I in order to ensure peace.
Almost 20 years later in 1938, Congress voted to make Armistice Day a federal holiday. In 1953, people began calling it Veterans’ Day. This was in thanks and remembrance to the Veterans in their towns. Many people believed that peace was preserved not only by World War I, but World War II, and the Korean War as well. Congress decided to change the day to an occasion to honor those who’d served America in all wars. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11th each year as Veterans’ Day.