Thursday, November 10, 2011

Armistice Day

Here is some history of Wilson and the start of Armistice Day, the forerunner of our Veteran's Day:
It was Woodrow Wilson who, one year after the guns fell silent and a few months after the signing the Treaty of Versailles, proclaimed the holiday to mark the end of the First World War and honor those who served. By the first anniversary of the Armistice, however, Woodrow Wilson had also fallen victim to the pressures of war and its aftermath. Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke just after returning from a nationwide tour to promote the ratification the Treaty as well as approval the Covenant of the League of Nations by the Senate. On November 11, 1919 Wilson called upon the American people to celebrate the cause of freedom won by American troops sent “Over There” to fight a foreign war for the first time in our history. In his proclamation Wilson said, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" On that first Armistice Day, Wilson mustered the strength to get out of his White House sickbed to receive a celebratory salute of cannons from Lafayette Square and enjoy a musical tribute.

On his last official day in office, March 4, 1921, Woodrow Wilson also set into motion another of our Veterans Day traditions, the honoring of those fallen in battle “unknown but to God.” As Wilson arrived at the Capitol for the inauguration of his successor, Warren G Harding, he went to the President’s Room in the Senate and signed the legislation that designated the interment of the remains of an Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. Later that day, Wilson moved to his new home at 2340 S Street in Washington, which is now the Woodrow Wilson House. On November 11, 1921, former President Wilson attended the ceremonies in the Rotunda of the Capitol for the Unknown Soldier and later that day he returned to his home to greet the crowd that had gathered there.

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