#OnThisDay in 1918, on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, the Great War comes to close following the signing of the armistice that took place earlier that morning at 5:45 am. This armistice signing brought an end to a war that left nine million soldiers dead and another 21 million wounded, not to mention the close to five million civilians that died from disease, starvation or exposure.
A year after the war had ended, King George V of England declared that November 11th would be marked as Armistice Day and celebrated with two minutes of silence at 11am, the hour that the agreements went into effect. This was originally announced when the New York Times mentioned this in a front-page headline that also informed the world that Americans would be observing the day too, through ceremonies throughout the country.
In a special address to the nation, President Woodrow Wilson discussed the colossal changes that the violent and gory conflict had provoked upon the world. Our European Allies fought for more than four years and we joined them for more than a year and a half. The world landscape was left forever changed; empires were destroyed, European borders were completely transformed and huge evolutions in weaponry and manufacturing came into play. All of this led President Wilson signing a proclamation #OnThisDay in 1919 that commemorated the end of the fighting in World War I as Armistice Day.
Subsequently, Congress passed a resolution in June of 1926 urging all state governors to observe the newly found holiday, eventually making November 11th a national holiday by 1938. Later, in 1954, President Eisenhower renamed the holiday to Veterans Day in response to a collective call for veterans of World War II to be recognized as well. A 1968 law forcibly moved the observance of the holiday to the fourth Monday in October. However unpopular, the law remained in existence until President Ford signed a law moving if back to the original date of November 11th in 1978.
To learn more about this period in history, please check out this page on our website: https://bit.ly/2KayoWG