Veterans Day: Let’s Never Forget the Heroes of WW1

Why we should remember those who fought for our freedom


Caroline M., Staff Writer

We all know what Veterans Day is, but do you know where it first came from?

France 1918: it’s been four years since the war started. Soldiers from both sides (France and Germany) are exhausted by this war that seems to never end. It was supposed to be a ‘quick’ war; the French thought that they would be back for Christmas 1914, but it has been three Christmases now. However, the first world war finally came to an end on November 11, 1918, after years of combat and more than 20 million deaths.

The armistice was signed at 5:15AM in the Forêt de Compiègne, in wagon restaurant 2419D, by the Maréchal Ferdinand Foch (who represented France and the Triple-Entente (UK and Russia)) and Matthias Erzberger (who represented Germany). The armistice was a provisional document which was a “cessez le feu” [cease fire] while waiting for the peace treaty. At 11AM, all the combat stopped. The traité de Versailles was signed on June 28 of 1919. The two regions Alsace and Lorraine were restituted to France after 47 years under German authority.

Since 1922, November 11 has been considered the day to commemorate all of the victims and combatants of World War I in France and is a holiday. Children and teenagers have no school and adults do not work on this day. A lot of commemorations for the ‘Compagnons de la Libération’ are held in more or less every cemetery in France and there is a big ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The president of the Republic usually gives a speech in front of the tomb of the Soldat Inconnu [Unknown Soldier].

Veterans Day in the USA was at first celebrated as Armistice Day but congress amended the name in 1954 to encompass all veterans in all wars. It is a federal holiday on which many businesses and institutions are closed, including many school districts.