What is Veterans Day

World War I finally ended after four years of battle on the 11th of November, 1918, with the signing of an armistice. Though originally signed at 5am, the agreement only came into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. This armistice ended fighting, though a state of war would remain between the Allied Powers and Germany for several months to come. This moment in history holds great significance, and today is celebrated throughout the world each year in various ways. In this video, WatchMojo.com learns more about Veterans Day, and how this important occasion is honored throughout the world.

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An Armistice Was Signed

On October 29th, 1918, despite facing sure defeat, Germany planned to dispatch its sailors into another battle with the British Royal Navy. A major mutiny erupted among the sailors, which in turn triggered a German revolution. After the revolutionaries proclaimed a republic on November 9th, the German Kaiser fled to the Netherlands. The Allied Commander-In-Chief Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France, along with Matthias Erzberger, who was a representative for Germany, were the principal negotiators for each side, and on the 11th of November, an armistice had been signed.

11th Hour, 11th Day, 11th Month

Signed in a railway carriage in France’s Compiègne Forest, the armistice marked complete defeat for Germany. It was signed at 5 a.m., however only came into effect at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

Final Deaths of WWI

Traditionally, Canadian Private George Lawrence Price is regarded as the last Commonwealth soldier killed in World War I. Shot by a German sniper, Price died at 10:58. American Henry Gunther was killed 60 seconds before the ceasefire went into effect, allegedly charging German troops who were aware armistice was upon them.

A State of War Remained

Despite being regarded as the end of the First World War, the armistice, in fact, only ended fighting. A state of war remained between the Allied Powers and Germany until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on the 28th of June, 1919.

Armistice Day

Proclaimed Armistice Day in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson on November 11th, 1919, this holiday was meant to reflect with solemn pride the heroism of those who died in the country’s service.

Veterans Day

In the United States, an act approved in 1938 officially made the 11th of November of each year a legal holiday, and that day was to be dedicated to the cause of world peace. However, in 1953, a Kansas shoe-store owner began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into All Veterans Day. Quickly, the idea built steam and was eventually signed into law in 1954.

The word Armistice was replaced with Veterans, and from then on the day was intended to celebrate all military veterans of the United States.

Celebrations Around the World

Other Allied countries celebrate November 11th in different ways. Many Commonwealth countries celebrate Remembrance Day on the specific day or Remembrance Sunday, which falls on the second Sunday of November. France, Belgium, and Poland all celebrate the signing of the armistice on the 11th.

A Moment of Silence

A moment of silence is traditionally held at 11 a.m. on the 11th of November to remember sacrifices of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war.

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