Veterans Day wasn’t always “Veterans Day.” It used to be called by another name.
In the year 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Allies and Germany came together at Rethondes, France and signed an armistice that ended hostilities on the Western Front.
“The War to End All Wars” was finally over. Roughly 20 million had perished, but the November 11 peace lasted and the soldiers went home.
In the United States and other allied countries, November 11th became an official holiday called Armistice Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Several years later, an act of Congress made November 11th a federal legal holiday, calling Armistice Day, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
*All around the globe, people embraced the tradition of pausing for two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on Armistice Day as a tribute to all those who fought in the Great War, as well as to give thanks for peace.
The holiday began to lose its significance in 1939. As Britain and other western countries prepared for the impending war against Germany, it became clear that the “War to End All Wars” would soon need a new name. In some countries, the two-minute Armistice Day silence was moved to the Sunday nearest November 11th to prevent it from interfering with wartime production.
Over 60 million people died in World War II -- the deadliest conflict in human history. In the 1950’s, Armistice Day in the United States was changed to Veterans Day to remember all those that had served. The original language about the holiday being dedicated to ‘world peace’ was dropped.
American novelist Kurt Vonnegut mentioned the holiday in “Breakfast of Champions." As an American WWII veteran and former prisoner of war, he wrote:
“When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind. Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not."
An outspoken humanist and anti-war activist, the establishment of Veterans Day disappointed him. A holiday dedicated to peace and those who fought in the “War to End All Wars” was replaced by a holiday to honor a continually growing population of war veterans. The name ‘Veterans Day’ itself suggests that we will always have living war veterans to honor -- that war will never be eradicated.
On Veterans Day 2013, we find ourselves still at war. I would like to truly honor the memory and the intent of this day.
In honor of this day or remembrance, here in the U.S. I offer 'Free Patriotic Quilting Patterns' with tutorials, links, and other projects and links.
My primary list is at this primary blog... With Heart and Hands....it is always the first set of posts that I udpate, so to make it easier on myself than adding all of that to this, check them out at the link below:
And in remembrance, let us not forget the other nations who also served in so many wars as well as in time of peace:
In the Commonwealth:
Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognised as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," in accordance with the Armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 a.m.
"At the 11th hour"
actually refers to the passing of the 11th hour or 11:00 a.m.
shown at the very top:
My sweet little Willow, now passed away, who still looked very young until the last few of her 16 years! Wonderful little cat who we miss, dearly! Although she helped me with all of my sewing and quilting, she loved my patriotic quilting, most of all. I could not keep her away from those fabrics and just sewing with her 'helping' me, anyway! Such memories and part of my patriotic holidays of remembrance, always!