The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Armistice with Germany went into effect, and World War I officially came to an end. A year later, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a holiday:
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.
Down through the years resolutions, bills and amendments have changed the face of the holiday, making it what it is today: a time offer gratitude to those who give their lives to protect our freedoms.
So to all the men and women serving the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard–past and present–thank you. It may not be much, but today we raise a glass in your honor, and offer our salute . . .