World War I — known at the time as — “the Great War” and “the War to End All Wars” — officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles, France. Fighting had ceased seven months earlier, however, when an armistice or temporary cessation of hostilities went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “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.”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m. Legislation enacted on May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November a legal holiday—a day dedicated to the cause of world peace to be known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was initially a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I. World War II and the Korean Conflict, however, made it clear that recognition of all veterans, of all wars should be given. In 1954, Congress amended existing legislation by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting “Veterans” in its place. With the approval of this legislation, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In Cold Spring there will be a ceremony on Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. on the lawn of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
The Purple Hearts Hall of Honor will hold a “Sharing Our Stories” program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m., also on Nov. 11.
On Saturday Nov. 13, from 10-noon, a Veterans Appreciation Breakfast will be held at VFW Post 391 on Oscawana Lake Road in Putnam Valley.
On Sunday, Nov. 14, the Yorktown Veterans Day Parade will start at 2 p.m. beginning at Lakeland High School.