The Elephant In The Room: 11 Facts For Veterans Day

The Elephant in the Room
By the Los Alamos Republican Party

Veterans Day is Wednesday. It is a day our nation sets aside to honor those men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Here are 11 facts about Veterans Day:

1. On Nov. 11, 1918, World War I, also known as The Great War, came to an end with an armistice between the combatants.  

2. The following year, an “Armistice Day” was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in the United States. In 1926, Congress adopted a resolution directing the President to issue an official proclamation each year on Nov. 11, honoring the war dead and veterans. Over the years the states adopted Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, but it was not until 1938 that Congress passed legislation designating Nov. 11, as an official Federal holiday.

3. In 1921, Congress passed legislation establishing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The first Unknown Soldier to be honored there was a soldier who served and died in World War I. The inscription on the sarcophagus of the tomb reads, “Here rests in honored glory and American soldier, known only to God.” There are also graves honoring soldiers from World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War.

4. In 1998, the remains of the Unknown from Vietnam were identified using mitochondrial DNA testing and were identified as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie. Because of this, this tomb remains empty and now reads, “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975.”

5. On June 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor those service members who served in World War II and the Korean War.

6. In 1968, observance of Veterans Day was changed by Congress to the last Monday in October. Pressure from the public, and the significance of the original Armistice Day, which was the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, changed the observance of this holiday back to Nov. 11. By 1978, all the states and the Federal government, again, observed November 11th as Veterans Day.

7. Veterans Day should not be confused with Memorial Day, which is celebrated in May. Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to the country, or died as a result of injuries sustained in battle. Veterans Day pays tribute to all Americans living or dead who have served in the military, but especially gives thanks to those who are still alive, and who have served during wartime or peacetime.

8. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is estimated there are a little over 1.7 million World War 2 veterans alive as of May 2015. The median age for a World War II veteran is 92 years. It is also estimated that about 400 of these veterans die every day.

9. The VA also estimates as of May 2105, there are approximately 2.2 million veterans of the Korean War (1950-53)  still alive, 7.3 million veterans from the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33 percent of all living veterans, 2.2 million veterans from the Gulf War (1990-91), and 2.4 million veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2001 to present).

10. A resolution was passed by the U.S. Senate Aug. 4, 2001 designating the week of Nov. 11-17, as “National Veterans Awareness Week.” This resolution calls for education efforts to be made in schools concerning the contributions and sacrifices made by veterans.

11. When Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954, President Eisenhower, in a letter to Harvey Higley, Administrator for Veterans Affairs, stated, “It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day…I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day.”

The Republican Party of Los Alamos invites you to join in the observance of Veterans Day and honoring our nation’s veterans by flying your flag on Wednesday, Nov. 11. 

Upcoming Republican Party Events:

  • Nov. 10, Debate-Watching Party, 6:45 p.m.; ZIA Realty, 1475 Central Ave #150, Los Alamos.
  • Nov. 12, LAFRW monthly meeting, noon, 1001 Oppenheimer Dr., Patio Room.
  • Nov. 19, RPLA monthly meeting, 7 p.m., UNM-LA, Bldg 2, Lecture Hall. Featured speaker: Dr. Heather Margaret will speak on “Parental Bill of Rights.”

For more information on December’s events, and local Republican Party news, visit the Republican Party of Los Alamos on Facebook, Los Alamos Federated Republican Women or