BELFAST — Belfast residents and visitors braved the chilly weather to watch the annual Veterans Day Parade make its way from Belfast Area High School to the waterfront.
Once called Armistice Day, Veterans Day falls on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month each year, marking the end of World War I.
Sometimes called the ‘war to end all wars,’ WWI drew to an end when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. Despite the official end date, fighting had stopped roughly seven months prior, when both Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice, which was done at 11:11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918.
Armistice Day was officially recognized as the end of the way by Congress in 1926 and in 1938 it became an official holiday, primarily honoring veterans of WWI.
It was in 1954, after WWII and the Korean War, Congress amended the commemoration by changing “armistice” to “veterans,” so that the day honors American veterans of all wars.
According to the most recent U.S. Census statistics, there are currently 18.2 million veterans in the United States.
For those looking for ways to give back and honor veterans year-round, military.com offers a number of suggestions, including donating to veterans groups, writing veterans, asking a veteran about their time in the service and actively listening to their answer, and visiting a VA hospital as possible ways to honor those who have served.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org