On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month peace was finally reached. On November 11, 1918 World War I came to an end with the signing of an armistice. The “war to end all wars” was at an end.
Known as Poppy Day, Remembrance Day (Canada), Eleven Eleven Eleven Day (Netherlands), and Veteran’s Day, this day commemorates the armistice that ended World War I and honors those who fought. It was formerly known as Armistice Day in the United States.
Armistice Day was made a legal holiday in the United States in 1938, twenty years after World War I ended. Originally this day honored veterans of World War I but with World War II and the Korean War a need to honor all veterans became clear. In 1954, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 and Armistice Day became known as Veteran’s Day. On June 1, 1954, November 11th was established as the official observance of Veteran’s Day.
In some European countries this day is still known as Armistice Day and still commemorates the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.
Poppies are associated with World War I and Armistice Day. During World War I the trenches could be seen across fields of brilliant red-orange poppies. Wreaths of poppies are often used as gravesite decorations on Veteran’s Day. Poppies are worn on the lapel in several different countries.
Federal and most state employees in the United States get the day off from work. If the date falls on the weekend the nearest weekday is observed as the holiday. For example, if November 11th falls on Saturday the holiday would be on the previous Friday.
In Flanders Fields
by Major John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.