A day to honor

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. William Etter
  • 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern)
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks a monumental time in the history of the United States and our Allies. On that day in 1918, at 11 a.m., an armistice went into effect between the Allied Forces and Germany, marking the end of hostilities in World War I.

A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, as the first commemoration of Armistice Day by stating, "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. ..."

Nearly two decades later, Armistice Day became a federal holiday giving all Americans the opportunity to honor veterans of World War I and to perpetuate world peace.

Though the day was originally founded to honor veterans of World War I, more than 400,000 American Service members soon gave their lives in World War II. And, following the war in Korea, veteran's organizations urged the 83rd Congress to replace the word "Armistice" with the word "Veterans." With this change, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars, past and present.

Here at 1st Air Force we have the distinct pleasure of serving alongside our most staunch partners in the security of our great nation, and on this day we honor our Canadian brethren as well.

While we call this day Veterans Day, our partners to the north recognize it as Remembrance Day. And like our day, Remembrance Day is filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in their country's service and with the utmost gratitude for these victories.

No matter how you refer to this day, thank those who serve now and those who have served in the past. Also, take the time to recognize all your great accomplishments in your service and sacrifice as well. Your tremendous service to the success of our mission has not gone unnoticed, nor has your continued support and dedication to America.  You rightly are America's heroes.

It's been 96 years since we've seen the end of the war to end all wars, but our country continues to call upon our great military to ensure the freedoms we enjoy every day continue, and I want to personally thank every American and Canadian service member, both past and present, for answering this call.